Here's some of my research:
This paper provides a novel explanation for how diversity can be valuable to organizations: under certain conditions, teams of diverse agents will self-manage, thereby mitigating agency problems. This technique is shown to function better, relative to other contracting techniques, in settings that are bureaucratic, low-information, and possess high transaction costs. Building diverse self-managing teams to resolve agency problems is explored in the context of Islamist terror groups that use foreign fighters. Because foreign and domestic fighters have conflicting preferences over what types of activities the group should be conducting, if these agents are integrated onto a team, then the team may self-regulate with potential efficiency gains for the principal. This model explains variation in agency problems and foreign fighter usage in al Qaeda in Iraq and the Haqqani Network.
Why would terror or insurgent groups turn away foreign fighters volunteering to fight for their cause? To explain variation in foreign fighter use, this paper presents a novel perspective on what foreign fighters offer to militant groups. Because foreign fighters possess a different set of preferences from local fighters, foreign fighters can be used to mitigate agency problems by being part of self-regulating teams. However, if through counterinsurgency or counterterror policies the leadership faces an environment that prohibits organizational oversight, foreign fighters will either be underutilized by local fighters or will act in ways that undermine the insurgency. This theory describes variation in foreign fighter use and agency problems within al Qaeda in Iraq (2004-2010) and the Haqqani Network (1980-present). Further analysis of the targeting of Abu Zarqawi (June 2006) also supports the theory, suggesting that leadership targeting inhibited effective organization and aggravated agency problems within AQI.
Gray zone conflict, or intrastate conflict falling below the threshold of war, is a pervasive feature of the international order. To date, academics and policy makers have identified gray zone conflict as destabilizing, bringing the targeted state to the threshold of war where miscalculation or missteps risk escalation into a full-scale conventional or nuclear war. This paper shows the opposite can be true. Gray zone conflict has the ability to weaken a targeted state's future interstate wartime capabilities. For this reason, gray zone conflict can be used to manage a rising power and prevent a preventative war. This intuition is formalized in a dynamic model of conflict, where comparative statics and extensions to the model are explored.