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The International Politics of Disasters

'Natural' disasters are shocks with the potential to disrupt the status quo, allowing for the evaluation of theoretical assumptions about international relations during times of crisis. This is a particularly significant area of inquiry because it is likely that disasters will have increasingly destructive effects on vulnerable populations in the twenty-first century.

During crises such as disasters, leaders are compelled to respond immediately, taking both strategic incentives and domestic politics into account. I am particularly interested in understanding the decision making processes leading to the donation and receipt of international emergency aid after disasters. 

Several working papers explore this process in greater depth, developing and testing theories of aid provision using an online survey experiment, a two-stage quantitative model (with Therese Anders), and a formal model (with Julianne Phillips).

Works in Progress:

  • (with Reyna L. Reyes-Nunez). "'Natural' Disasters and International Relations Theory: Towards a Research Agenda."

  • “How Quickly Empathy Fades: Framing Effects, Public Opinion, and International Emergency Aid.” 

  • (with Therese Anders). "Strategic Compassion: The Determinants of International Emergency Aid after Disasters."


  • (with Julianne Phillips). "Disasters, International Emergency Aid, and Domestic Political Audiences."

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