Travis B. Curtice. Spring 2018. “The Autocrat’s Dilemma: The Politics of Ethnic Policing.” CP: Newsletter of the Comparative Politics Organized Section of the American Political Science Association, 28 (1): 24–29.

Working Papers:

The Limits of Linkage: The Political Economy of Human Rights Trade Sanctions” (with Eric Reinhardt) (Under review). 

Rebels and the Regime: The Politics of Civilian Victimization” (Invited to Revise and Resubmit).

Coups and Human Rights” (with Daniel Arnon) (Under review). 


Registered Survey Experiments/Studies:

Examining Policing in Uganda: A List and Endorsement Experiment” EGAP ID: 20180605AC.

Does ethnicity influence the way individuals cooperate with the police? Existing studies have explored whether ethnicity affects cooperation and conflict. Yet prior research has not explored the politics of policing. Specifically, the literature on ethnicity and conflict has not shown whether ethnicity affects the willingness of civilians to cooperate with the police. This study seeks to answer this question by employing a list experiment and an endorsement experiment in a nationally representative survey of Uganda. The list experiment tests whether the lack of ethnic representation in the police force decreases whether people report crimes to the police. The endorsement experiment varies whether a recent initiative (Mayumba Kumi) is endorsed by the Ugandan Police Force or local politicians. Mayumba Kumi is an initiative to provide neighborhood watches to increase information provisions to the police. The endorsement experiment tests the effects of support by a local politician compared to the Uganda Police Force on respondents’ support for the initiative. By exploring the politics of policing in a multiethnic autocracy, this study contributes to a growing literature on policing, repression, and ethnic politics.

Policing and Collective Action: Survey Experiment in Uganda” (with Brandon Behlendorf) EGAP ID: 20180716AA.

An extensive literature within comparative politics, human rights, and conflict examines the relationship between collective action and repression. Many of these studies use observational data to study the effect of repression on collective action or vice versa. So these studies are limited in their ability to address the thorny challenge of endogeneity (i.e., does repression affect mobilization or does collective action affect repressive behavior?). Additionally, these studies do not distinguish between 1) appropriate police action and excessive police force and 2) individuals’ previous level of mobilization. Using a nationally representative survey of 2,000 Ugandans administered in July 2018, we investigate two questions: first, how different police actions affect citizens’ support for the police and willingness to engage in collective action; and second, whether these effects are conditioned by whether individuals are already mobilized and engaging in collective action. We further examine heterogeneous treatment effects to explore whether these effects vary by respondents’ support for the incumbent, prior police interactions, region, and gender. By examining the politics of policing in an authoritarian context, we hope to provide experimental evidence for when state-violence triggers political backlash, increasing collective action and decreasing support for the security apparatus.

Works in Progress:

“Under Threat: The Politics of Policing Election Violence.”
The provision of law and order by police officers is broadly considered a public good provided by street-level bureaucrats. But how do civilians in multiethnic societies perceive police officers during times of heightened political contestation such as elections? I examine why some individuals turn to the police for safety and security when threatened by election violence while others are unwilling to go to the local security apparatus for protection. I argue that incumbent coethnic ties condition the willingness of individuals to report threats of electoral violence to the police. Using data from a nationally representative panel survey conducted prior to Kenya’s 2017 elections and data on the ethnic composition of the Kenya National Police Service, I find individuals are more likely to report threats of political violence to the police when they share ethnic identities with the incumbent regime and their coethnics are represented in the domestic security institution. This provides evidence for a potential incumbency advantage, as coethnics of the ruling coalition will provide the police with more credible information regarding threats of election violence, especially if the incumbent has stacked their security apparatus with coethnic officers.

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