Dissertation & Book Project

Violence, Justice, and Reconciliation:
The Politics of Transitional Justice in Post-Conflict States

Committee: Beatriz Magaloni (Chair), David Laitin, Lisa Blaydes

Serious human rights violations committed during civil war erode the political and social fabric in brutal, decisive ways. In addition to the physical violence and tremendous emotional trauma, they also fundamentally change the way in which citizens view their state -- the very entity whose existence is premised on protecting and securing the safety of its citizens.

My book explores how post-conflict governments respond to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious human rights violations committed during internal armed conflict. Why do some governments aggressively punish perpetrators of gross human rights abuse, while others embrace a policy of forgiveness, truth-seeking, or something in between? Moreover, what impact do these different policy choices have on the relationship between the state and its citizens?

I marshal various types of data and methods to address these puzzles. I combine game theory, econometric techniques, and case studies from Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America to explain strategic uses of transitional justice. Further, experimental evidence from Central America casts light on the long-lasting consequences of initial policy choices on the political attitudes of citizens affected by internal armed conflict. 


“From Political Violence to Political Trust? Experimental Evidence on Transitional Justice from Guatemala.” Under review.

“The Logic of Transitional Justice and State Repression: The Effects of Human Rights Prosecutions in Post-Conflict States.” With Sam R. Bell. Under review.

“The Impact of Political Apologies: Survey Experimental Evidence from the U.S. and Japan.” With Jonathan Chu. Working paper. Presented at International Studies Association (2019), Northeast Workshop on Japanese Politics, Dartmouth (2019). [Available upon request]

“Justice as Fairness? The Impact of Human Rights Trials on State Legitimacy in El Salvador.” Working paper. Presented at Stanford University (2019), Latin American Studies Association (2019), International Studies Association-FLACSO (2018). [Available upon request]

“Justice Delayed: The Temporal Dynamics of Transitional Justice.” Working paper. Presented at Law and Society Association (2019). [Available upon request]

“Texting and Sexual Health: Experimental Evidence from an Information Intervention in Kenya.” 2015. Proceedings of the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, 18(2015):1-10. doi: 10.1145/2737856.2738032 [PDF (ungated)] [ACM website]

“txt for sexual health: Using Mobile Technology to Combat HIV/AIDS in Mathare, Kenya.” 2012. Sauti Stanford Journal of African Studies, 8(2011/2012):20-22. [PDF]

Work in progress

“The Politics of Reparations”

“Recasting National Narratives: A Text Analysis of Truth Commission Testimonies”

“When Do States Apologize? Introducing a New Dataset of Historical Apologies” (with Jonathan Chu)

“The Impact of Political Apologies on Domestic and Foreign Public Opinion” (with Jonathan Chu)

“The Effects of Policy Rhetoric on Political Trust: Evidence from Central America”

“The Role of Human Rights Organizations in Transitional Justice Policymaking” (with Sam R. Bell)

“Innovation in Transitional Justice: Colombia in Comparative Perspective” (with Guillermo Ruiz Pava)