Sexual Violence and Gender in the Long Run (with A. Greiner, A. Henic, and L. Kasserra).
Pre-Analysis Plan.
Abstract

No other form of violence aims as much at a person's gendered identity as sexual violence. What are the effects of victimization and exposure to sexual violence on individuals' understanding of their gender roles? How lasting are these effects? And how are they transmitted across generations? We investigate these questions by studying one of the most extreme cases of known mass wartime sexual violence following the Soviet occupation of Germany after WWII. Using original data collected from individuals spanning three post-war generations, we probe outcomes in the dimensions of household decision-making, militarized masculinity, and gendered political preferences and participation. Data collection will take place from July to September 2024, and we aim to collect 2,600 observations, of which 600 will be from members of the same family belonging to different generations. We will validate our findings using variation in the locations of Soviet outposts in 1946, a matching design, and data on the prevalence of births nine months after the invasion.


Weapon Technology and Civilian Targeting in Conventional War: Evidence from Ukraine (with J. Koch).
Working Paper.
Abstract

Why do armed forces target civilians during war? Extant theory generally interprets civilian targeting as motivated by an urge to dissuade collaboration with enemy forces. We expand on this idea by arguing that weapon technology is relevant to understanding why and where civilians are targeted. We presuppose that the danger for armed forces is highest when they are within the range of enemy fire. Civilian collaboration then poses a critical threat to combatants, not least because modern means of communication make it possible for civilians to transmit precise targeting information in real-time. An awareness of this risk, we argue, can lead armed actors to employ higher levels of violence against civilians when within the range of fire. We demonstrate our theory with geospatial data from the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine. Our data comprises geospatial information at the 10x10km grid level for the first year of the conflict, including on the location of the front line on a weekly basis. We show that areas occupied by Russia that were in range of Ukrainian cannon artillery systems saw 7 times higher levels of civilian targeting. This effect holds up to a variety of measurement strategies, including a treat-control design (comparing areas narrowly within and narrowly beyond artillery range) and panel analyses using fixed effects and difference-in-difference estimation (exploiting the movement of the front line over time). The relationship is especially strong before the introduction of long-range rocket artillery and in areas with comprehensive mobile network coverage. We supplement our quantitative analyses with qualitative information on civilian collaboration and civilian targeting during the conflict. Our findings are of both theoretical and practical importance, enabling us to make better predictions about where and why one might expect civilians to be particularly vulnerable to victimization at the hands of armed actors.


Native Elites Can Stabilize Foreign-Imposed Regimes: A Natural Experiment in Elite Survival and Anti-Communist Resistance in Post-World War II Poland (with K. Krakowski).
UNU-WIDER Working Paper 2022/148 (earlier version).
Abstract

Foreign-imposed regimes are a common phenomenon around the world. How do these regimes interact with preexisting, native elites? On the one hand, native elites may undermine the imposed regime's legitimacy and spur opposition. At the same time, the elites' human and social capital may serve the regime to improve its governance, thus decreasing popular resistance. We link the survival of native Polish elites in post-World War II Poland to resistance against the communist Soviet-backed regime, focusing on nobility, intellectuals, and army officers. We exploit plausibly random variation in officers' wartime deployment and subsequent imprisonment for causal identification. While most officers in Nazi captivity survived, almost all those in Soviet captivity were murdered. Municipalities with more surviving elites experienced fewer protests during the Solidarność uprising in the 1980s. Historical evidence indicates that these elites improved local economic development and governance, thereby reducing hardships and grievances against the communist regime.


Health Crises and the Cultural Roots of Antisemitism (with E. Kanol).
Pre-Analysis Plan.
Abstract

Do health crises lead to a rise in antisemitism, and why? Scholars have recorded a close association between health crises and the prevalence of antisemitic stereotypes and the occurrence of antisemitic violence. We show that a similar relationship holds for the Covid-19 pandemic, and explore the reasons behind this relationship. We argue that pandemics can activate cultural scripts linking the spread of infectious diseases to Judaism, especially among Christian conservatives. We rule out alternative explanations that relate the activation of antisemitic stereotypes to modern forms of antisemitism, in particular right-wing ideology. Our data come from an original survey (n=17,800) fielded in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our work demonstrates the deep cultural roots of exclusionary political attitudes and the mechanisms behind their activation.


Migration and Social Change: Evidence from Post-WWII Displacement in Germany (with V. Charnysh).
Abstract

What are the political consequences of large-scale migration and resulting religious heterogeneity? How does exposure to individuals from a different religious denomination affect social norms? We exploit a quasi-exogenous increase in denominational diversity that resulted from the resettlement of 1.9 million German expellees from Central and Eastern Europe to predominantly rural communities in Bavaria after WWII. At over 20 percent of the population, the expellees fundamentally transformed the denominational makeup of localities that had been homogeneous for four centuries. Using an original dataset covering over 2,000 municipalities, we show that denominational diversity reduced church attendance, led to resignation of church membership, and increased support for progressive political parties and female political participation. Supplementing our analysis with individual-level survey data, we show that individuals who live in communities diversified by expellee arrival today hold more progressive gender norms and are more accepting of homosexuality and euthanasia. Our analysis sheds new light on the implications of large-scale migration and religious diversity for social change.


The Cost of Democracy in Times of Emergency: Electoral Turnovers and Excess Mortality (with H. Cloléry, G. Kon Kam King, and D. Morisi). Under review.
Abstract

The transfer of power via elections is an essential feature of democracies. We investigate the effect of such electoral turnovers on a crucial health measure, excess mortality. We argue that electoral turnovers can cause friction, which may delay the implementation of effective policy measures, especially in times of crisis. Our data come from France, where local elections were held at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Using OLS regression, matching, and a regression discontinuity design to analyze 5,000 electoral decisions, we demonstrate substantial negative side effects of electoral turnovers. Municipalities where the incumbent mayor was defeated by an opposition candidate experienced 7 percentage points higher excess mortality than municipalities where the incumbent retained their office. Information on mask-wearing mandates and hand-collected data on executive orders issued in municipalities with and without turnovers supports our theoretical claims. While crucial for the functioning of democracy, holding elections in times of emergency comes at a cost.


Armed Violent Conflict and Healthcare-Seeking Behavior for Maternal and Child Health in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review (with C. Adeyanju, I. Jalo, P. Schrage, and L. Abreu). medRxiv Preprint. Under review.
Abstract

Background Over 630 million women and children worldwide face displacement due to conflict or resided dangerously close to conflicts zones. While the adverse effects of physical destruction on healthcare delivery are relatively well understood, the effects on healthcare-seeking behavior remain underexplored, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aims at the interconnections and knowledge gaps between exposure to armed violent conflicts and healthcare-seeking behaviors for maternal and child health in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods Five key electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycNET, and African Journals Online) were searched for peer-reviewed publications between 2000 and 2022. The review was designed according to PRISMA-P statement and the protocol was registered with PROSPERO database. The methodological quality and risks of bias were appraised using GRADE. A data extraction instrument was modelled along the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination of Systematic Reviews.
Result The search results yielded 1,148 publications. Only twenty-one studies met the eligibility criteria, reporting healthcare-seeking behaviors for maternal and child health. Among the twenty-one studies, seventeen (81.0%) reported behaviors for maternal health such as antenatal care, skilled birth attendance, postnatal care services, and family planning. Similarly, nine studies (42.8%) observed behaviors for child health such as vaccination uptake, case management for pneumonia, diarrhea, malnutrition, and cough. While conflict exposure is generally associated with less favorable healthcare-seeking behavior, in some of the studies, healthcare outcomes improved. Marital status, male partner's attitude, education, income and poverty levels were associated with healthcare-seeking behavior.
Conclusion There is need for multifaceted interventions to mitigate the repercussions of armed violent conflicts on healthcare-seeking behavior, given its mixed effects on child and maternal healthcare utilization. While armed violent conflict disproportionately affects child compared to maternal health, it is noteworthy that, exposure to such conflicts may unintentionally also lead to positive outcomes.


War Undermines Trust, Low Trust Continues to Kill: Violence, Vaccines, and Child Mortality. Under review.
Abstract

What are the long-term health consequences of violent conflict? It is well known that wars kill and maim civilians years after violence ceases. However, why exactly this is the case remains poorly understood. Some of the long-term effects of war, such as unexploded ordnance, destroyed health infrastructure, are straightforward. I investigate a more indirect, but no less consequential effect: The deleterious effect of conflict on trust. The experience of violence systematically goes along with lowered levels of interpersonal and institutional trust, an effect that can be extremely durable, persisting over several generations. At the same time, trust is an essential predictor for medical outcomes. Distrustful individuals are less likely to seek and follow medical advice, visit hospitals, and get their children vaccinated. By undermining trust, past violence continues to kill. To demonstrate this theory empirically, I combine information from over 1,5 million data points from DHS surveys, the Afrobarometer, and UCDP, which I analyze using generalized difference-in-difference models. Exposure to violence is associated with significantly reduced levels of institutional trust, which predict lower vaccination, and, in turn, higher rates of under-5 child mortality. Despite progress made in accounting for the manifold indirect effects of violent conflicts, we might still be underestimating the true cost of war.