I study the social origins of violence and how individuals, communities and states construct order.  Some questions I investigate are:

  • Why are some land disputes easily resolved while others escalate into conflict and violence? What do patterns in dispute dynamics reveal about governance and stability?
  • How do individuals and communities experience international norms around equal access to formal justice?
  • Why does informal dispute resolution successfully mitigate conflict in weak states?
  • How does enshrining community property rights in statutory law shape development, governance and conflict?
  • How does violence affect individual and group identity?

I conduct field research on these questions in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, and Jordan and I am grateful for the support of the World Bank, the National Science Foundation, USAID, the International Development Research Centre, and Yale University.

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