Articles (Peer Reviewed)

Jones, Calvert W. 2023. “Does Interacting with Women Encourage Civic and Prosocial Attitudes? Evidence from Simulated Contact Experiments in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.” Forthcoming in the Journal of Experimental Political Science .

Abstract: Research suggests that interacting with women may encourage civic and prosocial attitudes, yet findings to date have been limited to democracies notable for their egalitarian norms. Using simulated contact experiments under controlled conditions, this article tests hypotheses for the first time in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, arguably “hard cases” given persistent norms of patriarchy and gender segregation. Yet, despite stronger contexts for male dominance, results suggest that interacting with women may indeed steer Saudi and Kuwaiti men toward more civic and other-regarding orientations, including aspects of tolerance, egalitarianism, openness, and community rule-following. These findings add much-needed comparative perspective to experimental research on mixed-gender dynamics, and align with broader work highlighting the benefits of diverse interactions for groups and nations.

Jones, Calvert W. and Jocelyn Sage Mitchell. 2021. "Women Reporters as Experts on Security Affairs in Jordan? Rethinking Gender and Issue Competency Stereotypes." Mediterranean Politics.

Abstract: Research on gender and issue competency stereotypes frequently deems security affairs a “stereotypically masculine” domain. Traditionally, men are seen as more credible authorities in arenas such as crime and the military, while women are assumed to be more credible in “stereotypically feminine” ones like childcare and health. But women’s roles in politics, media, and other influential sectors are rapidly changing in the Mediterranean and MENA region. To test the conventional wisdom, we conducted an original, nationally representative survey in Jordan (n=885) focused on the media sector, using an embedded experiment assessing beliefs about the suitability of men versus women to report and offer commentary on national security affairs—specifically, an internal security threat (a high-profile bank robbery). Strong patriarchal norms suggest that the country should be an “easy case” for theories positing bias against women as experts in stereotypically masculine issue areas. Our results, however, do not support this conventional wisdom, instead suggesting egalitarianism and even a modest credibility advantage for women on assumptions about expertise. Theoretically, we contribute by proposing three novel explanations for why and when women in patriarchal contexts may evade classic sexist backlash, and perhaps achieve greater credibility than men, as authorities in traditionally masculine domains. 

Jones, Calvert W., Jocelyn Sage Mitchell, and Justin D. Martin. 2021. “Ambivalent Sexism? Shifting Patterns of Gender Bias in Five Arab Countries." International Studies Quarterly 65(2): 277-293. 

Abstract: While institutional support is growing for women in leadership positions across the Arab world, little is known about how rising numbers of women in roles of authority and expertise are being perceived. We examine how general theories of gender bias fit new data from a survey experiment spanning nationally representative samples in five Arab countries. The experiment captured how citizens judge women who adopt the stereotypically-masculine role of a “hard-news” journalist. Results challenge conventional wisdom about the prevalence of classic sexism—a generalized antipathy toward women consistent with traditional definitions of prejudice. Instead, we find considerable support for ambivalent sexism, a more nuanced theory positing pro-male (hostile) as well as pro-female (benevolent) biases both detrimental to gender equality and requiring distinctive strategies to address. Although tentative, the findings also make a theoretical contribution suggesting that modernization processes may reverse gender biases, replacing classic patriarchy with so-called “benevolent” sexism rather than true gender-egalitarianism. 

Jones, Calvert W. and Teresa M. Bejan. “Reconsidering Tolerance: Insights from Political Theory and Three Experiments.” 2021. British Journal of Political Science 51(2): 604-623. 

Abstract: Tolerance underlies many contemporary controversies, yet theorists and political scientists study it in strikingly different ways. This paper bridges the gap by using recent developments in political theory to enrich empirical research and extend the study of tolerance to contexts beyond liberal democracies, such as authoritarian regimes. Our recommendations challenge dominant liberal-democratic frameworks by emphasizing variation across the (1) objects of tolerance; (2) possible responses to difference; and (3) sources of tolerance. We then illustrate the promise of our recommendations with three theoretically-informed experiments inspired by historical debates about religious conversion. Our results suggest a marked “convert effect” across not only contemporary religious but also secular political divides, with the same difference in terms of content viewed as less tolerable when resulting from conversion than when given or ascribed. The research demonstrates the benefits of greater dialogue across political theory and political science, while shedding light on a central question of tolerance today.

Adler, Eric and Calvert W. Jones. “What Do Classicists Think? Perspectives on Politics, Scholarship, and Disciplinary Crisis.” 2019. TAPA (the flagship journal of the Society for Classical Studies - the largest professional association for scholars of ancient Greece and Rome, similar to APSA for political scientists) 149(2): 89-116.   

Abstract: This article presents a representative, “state-of-the-field” picture of what US classical scholars think about issues of prime importance to their discipline. It offers results from a large-scale survey of randomly selected members of the Society for Classical Studies. We demonstrate not only what classicists think about key questions, but also how attitudes diverge on the basis of differing political ideologies, genders, ethnicities, and incomes, challenging impressionistic assumptions about the discipline. In light of the survey data, we also present ideas for the field to respond to the pedagogical, intellectual, and financial pressures of contemporary American higher education. 

Jones, Calvert W. "Adviser to the King: Experts, Rationalization, and Legitimacy." 2019. World Politics 71(1): 1-43.      

Cited in the New York Times, including a front-page article, and also the Huffington Post.

Abstract: Do experts rationalize and legitimize authoritarian governance? Although research on expert actors in contexts of democracy and international governance is now extensive, scholarly work on their role in authoritarian settings remains limited. This article helps open the black box of authoritarian decision-making by investigating expert advisers in the Arab Gulf monarchies, where ruling elites have enlisted them from top global universities and consulting firms. Qualitative fieldwork combined with three experiments cast doubt on both the rationalization and legitimacy hypotheses and also generated new insights surrounding unintended consequences. On rationalization, the evidence suggests that experts contribute to perverse cycles of overconfidence among authoritarian ruling elites, thereby enabling a belief in state-building shortcuts. On legitimacy, the experiments demonstrate a backfire effect, with experts reducing public support for reform. The article makes theoretical contributions by suggesting important and heretofore unrecognized conflicts and trade-offs across experts’ potential for rationalizing vis-à-vis legitimizing.

Jones, Calvert W. and Celia Paris. "It's the End of the World and They Know It: How Dystopian Fiction Shapes Political Attitudes." 2018. Perspectives on Politics  16(4): 969-989. 

Cited in the NYT newsletter (“The Interpreter”). 

Abstract: Given that the fictional narratives found in novels, movies, and television shows enjoy wide public consumption, memorably convey information, minimize counter-arguing, and often emphasize politically-relevant themes, we argue that greater scholarly attention must be paid to theorizing and measuring how fiction affects political attitudes. We argue for a genre-based approach for studying fiction effects, and apply it to the popular dystopian genre. Results across three experiments are striking: we find consistent evidence that dystopian narratives enhance the willingness to justify radical—especially violent—forms of political action. Yet we find no evidence for the conventional wisdom that they reduce political trust and efficacy, illustrating that fiction’s effects may not be what they seem and underscoring the need for political scientists to take fiction seriously.

Jones, Calvert W. "New Approaches to Citizen-Building: Shifting Needs, Goals, and Outcomes." 2018. Comparative Political Studies 51(2): 165-196.

Abstract: New approaches to citizen-building are flourishing, yet theoretical tools are lacking and empirical research is limited. This article contributes in several ways. Theoretically, it offers a reconceptualization of the traditional “making of citizens” framework, aiming to adapt it to contemporary needs and concerns. Empirically, it offers an examination of the content of civics curricula as well as original data on the outcomes of an ambitious state-led social engineering campaign in the United Arab Emirates, where leaders seek to build more “globalization-ready” citizens—more entrepreneurial, market friendly, patriotic, and civic minded, yet still loyal to the regime. Using a difference-in-differences framework, I find evidence that social engineering is succeeding in some respects but backfiring in others, giving rise to citizens not only more patriotic but also more entitled—in other words, entitled patriots. Findings contribute to knowledge of state-led social engineering and citizen-building in the contemporary era.

Jones, Calvert W. "Seeing Like an Autocrat: Liberal Social Engineering in an Illiberal State." 2015. Perspectives on Politics 13(1): 24-41.

First article in the issue, featured on the cover, and cited in the Wilson Quarterly.

Abstract: Recent studies of autocratic liberalization adopt a rationalist approach in which autocrats’ motives and styles of reasoning are imputed or deduced.  By contrast, I investigate these empirically.  I focus on liberal social engineering in the Persian Gulf, where authoritarian state efforts to shape citizen hearts and minds conform incongruously to liberal ideals of character.  To explain this important but under-studied variant on autocratic liberalization, I present evidence from rare palace ethnography in the United Arab Emirates, including analysis of the jokes and stories ruling elites tell behind closed doors and regular interviews with a ruling monarch.  I find that autocrats’ deeply personal experiences in the West as young men and women supplied them with stylized ideas about how modern, productive peoples ought to act and how their own cultures underperform.  The evidence also reveals that such experiences can influence autocrats, even years later, leading them to trust in Western-style liberal social engineering as the way forward, despite the risks.  Ethnographic findings challenge the contemporary scholarly stereotype of the autocrat as super-rational being narrowly focused on political survival, illustrating how memory and emotion can also serve as important influences over reasoning and drive liberal change. 

Jones, Calvert W. "Exploring the Microfoundations of International Community: Toward a Theory of Enlightened Nationalism." 2014. International Studies Quarterly 58(4): 682-705.

Cited in the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and Times Higher Education.

Abstract: This paper challenges conventional wisdom about the drivers of international community at the individual level.  Presenting new data and a novel natural experiment approach to the study of cross-border contact and international community, it tests some of the key microfoundations of international relations theory about how a sense of shared international community may arise and evolve at the individual level.  The hypotheses are tested using survey data from a large sample (n = 571) of American study abroad students in a range of universities across a treatment and a control group.  Surprisingly, findings do not support the main hypothesis that cross-border contact fosters a sense of shared international community.  However, the second hypothesis drawn from the liberal paradigm is supported: individual perceptions of threat diminish significantly as a result of cross-border contact.  The “Huntingtonian” hypothesis that cross-border contact heightens nationalism also garners wide support.  The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for theory and future research, especially the potential of rethinking the drivers of international community at the individual level to rely less on a sense of  shared identity and essential sameness, and more on a feeling of “enlightened nationalism” and appreciation for difference.

Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, Mette and Calvert W. Jones. "Assessing the Dangers of Illicit Networks: Why al-Qaida May Be Less Dangerous Than Many Think." 2008. International Security 33(2): 7-44.  

Based on my MPhil thesis at the University of Cambridge, cited in the New Yorker, and selected for reprint in Brown, Michael E., Owen R. Coté, Sean M. Lynn-Jones, and Steven E. Miller. Contending with Terrorism: Roots, Strategies, and Responses (MIT Press, 2010), a specially curated collection of influential papers dealing with terrorism including papers by Max Abrahms, Erica Chenoweth, Audrey Kurth Cronin, Andrew Kydd, Paul Staniland, and Barbara Walter. 

Abstract: Theoretical work on networked organization informs a large swathe of the current literature on international organized crime and terrorism in the field of international relations. Clandestine networks are portrayed as large, fluid, mobile, highly adaptable, and resilient. Many analysts have concluded that this makes them difficult for more stable, hierarchical states to combat. The prevailing mood of pessimism about the ability of states to combat illicit networks, however, may be premature. International relations scholars working in the area have often been too quick to draw parallels to the world of the firm, where networked organization has proven well adapted to the fast-moving global marketplace. They have consequently overlooked not only issues of community and trust but also problems of distance, coordination, and security, which may pose serious organizational difficulties for networks in general and for illicit networks in particular. Closer attention to a wider body of historical and contemporary research on dynamics of participation in underground movements, the life cycle of terrorism and insurgency, and vulnerabilities in organized crime reveals that clandestine networks are often not as adaptable or resilient as they are made out to be. An analysis of the al-Qaida network suggests that as al-Qaida adopts a more networked organization, it becomes exposed to a gamut of organizational dilemmas that threatens to reduce its unity, cohesion, and ability to act collectively.

Jones, Calvert W. "Intelligence Reform: The Logic of Information Sharing." 2007. Intelligence and National Security 22(3): 384-401.

Included as required reading in a course at the CIA’s Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis.

Abstract: A cornerstone of U.S. intelligence reform is 'information sharing' as a means of adapting to contemporary security challenges. It was a central recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, reflected in the wide-ranging 'Information Sharing Environment' mandated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Yet the underlying logic of information sharing for intelligence reform has received little attention. Drawing on information and communications theory, this paper critiques the logic by highlighting problems of sense-making and interpretation overlooked amid the scholarly enthusiasm for an intelligence 'culture of sharing.' With their impersonal, technical, and highly bureaucratic approach, today's reforms may favor the flow of information and its sheer volume at the expense of the context and analytic tradecraft that render it meaningful, actionable intelligence. To support meaningful information sharing, the paper suggests reformers pay more attention to the socio-technical environment of analysis when interpreting ambiguous, uncertain information.

Jones, Calvert W. "Al Qaeda’s Innovative Improvisers: Learning in a Diffuse Transnational Network." 2006. Cambridge Review of International Affairs 19(4): 555-569.

Abstract: Al-Qaeda is commonly described as a highly flexible and adaptable non-state network, making it difficult for states to combat. Although these features are associated with networks in theory, they are not inherent to networks in practice, and rely largely on organisational learning. A network that fails to learn is not likely to adapt successfully. This paper explores the learning implications of al-Qaeda's transnational network structure, focusing on decentralisation and reduced hierarchical control following the loss of its Afghanistan base. Drawing from organisational theory research, the paper uses an exploration–exploitation framework to offer hypotheses about how learning is evolving. It suggests a wider space for exploration, rendering a dispersed, decentralised al-Qaeda more innovative, balanced by a weakened ability to exploit resources and expertise. Networked al-Qaeda militants are described as ‘innovative improvisers’ with high creative potential but low professionalism. By delving into the mechanisms of learning, the paper builds knowledge of what specific circumstances affect al-Qaeda's purported agility as an actor. Further research is recommended on how states might respond to innovative improvisers. Such research should extend beyond popular proposals for ‘networked’ national security to innovation and learning in their own right.

Jones, Calvert W. and Sarai Mitnick. "Open Source Disaster Recovery: Case Studies of Networked Collaboration." 2006. First Monday 11(5).

Cited in Science.

Abstract: Volunteers eager to help disaster victims have begun to draw on open source models of organization to mobilize and coordinate vast resources from around the world. This paper investigates two such groundbreaking efforts, involving responses to Hurricane Katrina and to the South East Asian tsunami. The study sheds light on how these organizations evolve so rapidly, how leaders emerge and confront challenges, and how interactions with traditional, more hierarchical disaster recovery efforts unfold. Lessons from these early efforts show how they can be improved, and also point to the need for more research on networked non–state actors that are playing increasingly prominent roles.