Research on Oil Wars, Interest Groups and Religious Violence

I also conducted research in other areas including International Relations, Comparative Political Economy and religious violence. Contributing to an ongoing debate of whether oil harms international peace, our study suggests that oil-rich and oil-dependent states indeed show a more aggressive foreign policy behavior and are more frequently involved in militarized interstate conflicts.

Collaborating on a project on the impact of religious factors on peace and conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa, we found empirical evidence for the so called “mobilization hypothesis”. Our results indicate that the overlapping of religious and ethnic identities increases the risk of armed conflict in Africa.

Another research interest I pursued in the past concerns the relationship between citizens’ level of education, electoral systems and the power of interest groups. Analyzing variance across U.S. states, one of my papers evidenced that informed and educated voters may prevent political parties from catering to special interests. Particularly under high electoral competition, political parties seem to value median voter’s concerns (instead of e.g. exchanging narrowly targeted policies for campaign contributions) if voters are well-informed.