Demand for Statehood: The Case of Native Recruitment in World War II (Accepted at International Studies Quarterly)

Abstract: This paper examines how the demand for independence appeared in the era of Decolonization. I argue that nationalist movements were more likely to emerge in places where the colonial authorities recruited the native population in World War II. The theory highlights the role of war veterans in creating the demand for independence and in facilitating it through organized collective action. Drawing on original World War II native recruitment data, an analysis of nationalist movements in sub-national units from 1939 to 1984 provides evidence consistent with the theory. The findings in this study help us better understand the rise of nationalist movements in the 20th century and the political effects of military service.

Full Paper

Working Papers

Engaging Rebels: Humanitarian Engagement in Conflict Zones & the Case of the United Nations Action Plans (With Hyeran Jo)

Abstract: Under what conditions do external actors engage rebel groups in internal civil conflicts with the purpose of changing their behavior for better humanitarian outcome? This paper presents a theory and evidence of international humanitarian engagement in conflict zones. The theory identifies the two factors that enable humanitarian engagement. First, governments that cannot effectively deal with their internal enemies are the ones that would allow external actors to engage their internal enemies. Second, rebel groups are willing to engage international humanitarian actors when they hold territory. Strong territorial control is associated with ease with which interlocutors are identified by international actors. As well, territory-holding rebel groups are willing to invest in their relations with civilian population. We provide an empirical evidence using the case of the United Nations action plans to stop the practice of child soldiering, between 2000 and 2015. We find that rebels holding territory are more likely to be engaged by external actors, and ineffective governments are more likely to allow these humanitarian engagements in their sovereign areas. Our study has implications for international community’s external engagement operations in internal conflict zones. It specifically calls for more systematic study on the logic and practice of engaging violent actors, going beyond the logic of coercion. 
Full Paper

Once a Slave? The Slave Trade and Military Formation under Colonialism

Abstract: How was the colonial military formed? Exploring the cases overlooked from the literature on state formation, I argue that colonial powers believed ethnic groups in regions heavily affected by the slave trade were 'martial races,' and because of this stereotype, ethnic groups targeted by the slave trade were more likely to be recruited into the colonial military. The paper tests the argument with the ethnicity-level slave trade data and the recruitment records from the Tirailleurs Sénégalais in colonial French West Africa. Using various specifications, including instrumental variable estimates and spatial lags, an analysis of the ethnicity-level recruitment quota provides evidence consistent with the theory. The findings in this study help us better understand the formation of the indigenous military in the former colonies and the political effects of the slave trade. 

Full Paper