About

I am currently a doctoral candidate in the Wilf Family Department of Politics at New York University. My substantive research interests focus on the intersection of international relations, comparative politics, and political economy. My methodological interests are centered on the interplay between theoretical and empirical models.

In my dissertation I bring these interests together by investigating microfoundations for context conditional risk preference as a rationalist explanation for war. In short, both corporeal individuals and inherently insecure political actors require resources to survive. The utility functions of such actors for these basic resources are convex around this threshold, leading to their behaving as if they were risk-acceptant when under material or political duress. This risk-acceptance, in turn, may result in bargaining failure should the set of mutually agreeable negotiated settlements be rendered empty. Whether or not this occurs depends on observable contextual features such as the level of resources and political institutions.

Despite its analytical simplicity the framework produces a rich set of propositions related to the context conditional and endogenous relationships between economic development, political institutions, and political violence. In particular, a large set of regularities found by the empirical literature are shown to follow as direct logical implications of the mechanisms considered. Published results include unifying primary empirical findings from the democratic/autocratic/capitalist peace literature with diversionary war, explaining the association between material scarcity and conflict to rationalist satisfaction, and explaining why it is that power preponderance rather than parity is associated with conflict across levels of analysis. This is despite these regularities previously being studied as if they were independent.

While pursuing my first Masters degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee I had the privilege of attending the ICPSR Summer Program on an EITM Certification Scholarship (2015). The experience was formative for my research agenda and I have had the pleasure of returning to the University of Michigan every summer since as a teaching assistant (2016-) .

You can get a hold of me at cschwarz[at]nyu.edu