Research Interests

Refugees, civil conflict, terrorism, hierarchical modeling, text analysis

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Chu, Tiffany S. and Alex Braithwaite. Forthcoming. "The Impact of Foreign Fighters on Civil Conflict Outcomes." Research and Politics.

There has been a great deal of discussion about the large volumes of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq over the past couple of years. Yet, there remains little systematic evidence about the effect, if any, that foreign fighters have upon the conflicts that they join. Existing literature distinguishes between the resources that fighters bring to campaigns and the liability that they represent to campaign cohesion. We seek to establish preliminary evidence as to whether or not foreign fighters contribute to the success of the campaigns that they join. Our analyses of civil conflicts between 1946 and 2011 suggest that foreign fighters are associated with marginally increased prospects for success for the conflicts that they join. However, this effect exists only amongst fighters that originate from non-contiguous countries, who might be thought of as being more committed to the cause that they are joining.

Replication data and supplemental material for Chu & Braithwaite (2017)


Braithwaite, Alex and Tiffany S. Chu. Forthcoming. "Civil conflicts abroad, foreign fighters, and terrorism at home." Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Terrorist attacks in Brussels (May 2014) and Paris (January and November 2015) highlighted the threat related with the arrival of foreign fighters from civil wars overseas. We develop an argument suggesting that terrorism at home is systematically affected by the exit of so-called "foreign fighters" out of civil wars abroad. We contend that foreign civil conflicts ending in success for rebel groups can result in a surplus of well-trained foreign fighters, increasing the risk of terrorism at home. By contrast, when rebel groups are defeated in foreign civil conflicts, we anticipate a restriction in the flow of foreign fighters, which reduces the likelihood of terrorism at home. Empirical tests on most countries for the years 1970-2006 support these hypotheses. Tests also demonstrate that the flow of foreign fighters is associated with the creation of new terrorism campaigns, rather than the exacerbation of existing operations.

Replication data for Braithwaite & Chu (2017)


Chu, Tiffany S. and Jessica Maves Braithwaite. Forthcoming. "The Effect of Sexual Violence on Negotiated Outcomes in Civil Conflict.Conflict Management and Peace Science.

Combatants used sexual violence in approximately half of all civil conflicts since 1989. We expect that when groups resort to sexual violence they are organizationally vulnerable, unlikely to win, and as such they are inclined to salvage something from the conflict by way of a settlement. Using quantitative analysis of data on civil conflicts in the post-Cold War period, we find that a higher prevalence of sexual violence perpetrated by government forces precipitates negotiated outcomes. This is particularly true in contexts where both government and rebel forces utilize comparable levels of wartime rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

Replication data and supplemental material for Chu & Braithwaite (2017)

Work in Progress

"Hosting your enemy: Accepting refugees from a rival and respect for human rights"

"The Determinants of Refugee Repatriation"

"People, Places, Problems: Political Violence and the Targeting of Local 'Resources'" (with Paul Bezerra and Alex Braithwaite)

"Exposure to Violence and Attitudes Towards Hosting Refugees: Evidence from Lebanon" (with Faten Ghosn and Alex Braithwaite

"Citizenship Reform and Political Violence During the Post-Agreement Period"