The Perils of Top-down State-Building

Can weak states build social order from the top down?


Social Structure and Conflict

Why are conflicts in some areas especially frequent and severe?

Liberia | American Economic Review

Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Liberia

Can therapy influence criminals to stop violent careers?

Liberia | Journal of Peace Research

Predicting Local Violence in Liberia

Is it possible to predict where violence will occur?

Sierra Leone | Science

Reconciling After Civil Conflict Increases Social Capital but Decreases Individual Well-Being

Does reconciliation heal the wounds of war?


Are states led by women less prone to conflict than states led by men?

Northern Nigeria

Labor Market Opportunities and Violent Crime among Muslim Youth: Experimental Evidence from Northern Nigeria

Can providing labor market opportunities improve economic well-being and decrease violent criminal activity?

State-Building Lessons from the British Empire

After the frustration of recent state-building missions, we should ask why such interventions seemed less difficult in the era of colonial expansion. Before 1939, foreign statebuilding interventions were regularly managed by a decentralized team of plenipotentiary agents who specialized in fostering local political development. Since 1945, however, international assistance has generally worked with and through an officially recognized national government, implicitly supporting a centralization of power. This paper considers the corps of British colonial District Officers as a potential model for an international state-building agency, which could help to repair failed states that export violence and suffering.

Force and Restraint in Strategic Deterrence: A Game-Theorist's Perspective

In a dangerous world, we need to think very carefully about how military force is used. Game theory can serve us in such analyses by providing a framework for probing the inextricable connections between our adversaries’ decision problems and our own. To illustrate the power of game theory, the author focuses on a vital question that confronts American policymakers today: What determines why an application of military force, which was intended to deter potential adversaries, sometimes instead stimulates them to more militant reactions against us? When we feel that force is necessary, what can we do to minimize the risk of such adverse reactions?

Latin American Policy Forum 2018

Institute Director James Robinson moderates a discussion with Carlos Mesa, former President of Bolivia, as part of the University of Chicago Latin American Policy Forum 2018, cosponsored by The Pearson Institute.