Limited Urban Citizenship: The Case of Community Councils in East Jerusalem
Avni, Nufar, Noam Brenner, Dan Miodownik, and Gillad Rosen. Forthcoming. “Limited Urban Citizenship: The Case of Community Councils in East Jerusalem.” Urban Geography. Publisher's VersionAbstract


All around the world, urban spaces are disputed over issues of class, gender, ethnicity, and race. Urban citizenship within such spaces has been found to be fragmented, or even ‘dark.’ Intermediary organizations that represent spatially concentrated communities, such as Community Councils (CCs), often operate under these contentious circumstances. This paper focuses on the role of intermediary institutions in the contested city of (East) Jerusalem. We situate this case in the discussion on urban citizenship and highlight the precarity of the concept in a non-democratic context where most people are stateless residents. Building on in-depth interviews and site visits, we suggest that CCs implement a limited form of urban citizenship via a range of functions that vary from service provision to political representation. We explain the multifaceted nature of this limited urban citizenship and the process by which it is created, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. Through this case, we seek to enrich the literature on urban citizenship and CCs in contested cities with an emphasis on the multiple logics that operate in space, including the urban and the national.


Military Autonomy and Balancing in Political Crises: Lessons from the Middle East
Barak, Oren, and Dan Miodownik. 2021. “Military Autonomy and Balancing in Political Crises: Lessons from the Middle East.” Armed Forces & Society 47 (1): 126–147. Publisher's VersionAbstract


This paper argues that autonomous militaries can play a balancing role during major internal political crises. However, when militaries’ autonomy is curtailed by political leaders before the crisis, militaries cannot maintain the political balance between rulers and opponents, thereby increasing the risk of armed conflict. The paper first explains the main concepts relevant to the discussion (autonomy; political crisis; balancing role), exploring their possible inter-linkages and presenting several hypotheses. Subsequently, it discusses four relevant cases from the Middle East before and during the Arab revolts of 2010–2011: Egypt in 2011 and Lebanon in 1958, which demonstrate the balancing capacities of autonomous militaries during major political crises, and Lebanon in 1975 and Syria in 2011, which reveal that non-autonomous militaries cannot play a balancing role in such circumstances. The paper concludes with several observations regarding the military’s balancing role during major internal political crises in divided and homogenous states. 


When Do Institutions Suddenly Collapse? Zones of Knowledge and the Likelihood of Political Cascades
Lustick, Ian S., and Dan Miodownik. 2020. “When Do Institutions Suddenly Collapse? Zones of Knowledge and the Likelihood of Political Cascades.” Quality & Quantity 54 (2): 413-437. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In this paper institutions are treated as stabilized sets of expectations, an approach that encourages investigation of how cultural formations, political regimes, global financial arrangements, and other institutions can be both reliable and yet also subject to sudden and sometimes catastrophic transformations. We examine conditions that make political cascades, or tipping, more or less likely. We report findings from computer-assisted agent-based modelling experiments designed to test Timur Kuran’s preference falsification model for explaining the possibility, but rare occurrence of, revolutionary political cascades. Since it run on a computer, our operationalized model of Kuran’s theory is is a necessarily precise and elaborated refinement of the incompletely specified version presented by Kuran.  Our purpose is to go beyond his explanation for why political cascades can occur, albeit rarely, to explore the conditions that make them more or less likely.  Our specific focus is on the impact of the amount of knowledge about the state of the entire system possessed by citizens with stronger or weaker inclinations to publicly express their anti-regime sentiments. The “zone of knowledge” of individuals is an unexamined variable whose importance is unrecognized but implied by Kuran’s analysis.  . We find that with some reasonable but crucial refinements Kuran’s preference falsification theory works to explain the pattern observed in the political world of rare but sweeping cascades of; that the amount of knowledge individuals have about the behavior of the population is crucial to shaping the probability of a cascade; and that variation in the myopia of “early followers” is considerably more important for determining the likelihood and comprehensiveness of sudden political transformations  than the influence of first movers or the contribution of other plausible factors.


Geographies of violence in Jerusalem: The spatial logic of urban intergroup conflict
Rokem, Jonathan, Chagai M. Weiss, and Dan Miodownik. 2018. “Geographies of violence in Jerusalem: The spatial logic of urban intergroup conflict.” Political Geography 66: 88-97. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This paper assesses how spatial configurations shape and transform individual and collective forms of urban violence, suggesting that geographies of urban violence should be understood as an issue of mobility. We document and map violent events in Jerusalem, assessing the possible impact of street patterns: segmenting populations, linking populations, and creating spaces for conflict between the city's Jewish and Palestinian populations. Using space syntax network analysis, we demonstrate that, in the case of Jerusalem, street connectivity is positively associated with individual violence yet negatively associated with collective violence. Our findings suggest that understanding the logic of urban intergroup violence requires us to pay close attention to local urban morphology and its impact on intergroup relations in ethnically divided and heterogeneous environments.

Determinants of Regional Political Distinctiveness
Cartrite, Britt, and Dan Miodownik. 2016. “Determinants of Regional Political Distinctiveness.” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 22 (2): 119-148. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Scholarly research exploring the phenomenon of regional distinctiveness in Europe, since at least the 1960s, has generated a variety of competing theories to explain the phenomenon, including the following: the persistence of linguistic distinctiveness; the impact of economic distinctiveness; and remoteness. Often these studies operationalize “regional distinctiveness” in different ways, impeding the evaluation of different types of theories against one another. This study develops a novel measure for regional distinctiveness, applied to 161 regions in 11 European countries from 1990–2014, and demonstrates that language, economics, and remoteness work through regional parties to generate regional political distinctiveness, while only linguistic distinctiveness also has a direct effect on such distinctiveness.

The Imperative to Explore the Impact of Disarmament on Peacemaking Efforts and Conflict Recurrence
Levine, Jamie, and Dan Miodownik. 2016. “The Imperative to Explore the Impact of Disarmament on Peacemaking Efforts and Conflict Recurrence.” Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy 22 (4): 347-356. Publisher's VersionAbstract

There is today a well-established consensus that belligerents must be disarmed in order to reconstruct shattered states and establish a robust and durable peace in the wake of internal armed conflict. Indeed, nearly every UN peacekeeping intervention since the end of the Cold War has included disarmament provisions in its mandate. Disarmament is guided by the arrestingly simple premise that weapons cause conflict and, therefore, must be eradicated for a civil conflict to end. If the means by which combatants fight are eliminated, it is thought, actors will have little choice but to commit to peace. Disarmament is, therefore, considered a necessary condition for establishing the lasting conditions for peace. To date, however, no systematic quantitative analysis has been undertaken of the practice of disarmament and the causal mechanisms remain underspecified. This paper is a preliminary attempt to fill that gap. In it we outline a series of hypotheses with which to run future statistical analyses on the effects of disarmament programs. The success of negotiations and the durability of peace are, perhaps, the single most salient issues concerning those engaged in conflict termination efforts. We therefore focus the bulk of this paper on a review of the supposed effects of disarmament on negotiating outcomes and war recurrence.

The Legitimacy of Alien Rulers
Horne, Christine, Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Kyle Irwin, Dan Miodownik, and Michael Hechter. 2016. “The Legitimacy of Alien Rulers.” Swiss Political Science Review 22 (4): 454-469. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In the modern world, alien rulers are generally perceived to lack legitimacy. Political legitimacy is important because it is thought to be the principal alternative to coercive institutions. Little empirical evidence supports these claims, however. We devise a laboratory experiment that isolates alienness from other ruler characteristics. The experiment tests whether alien rulers have less legitimacy than native rulers, and whether the ability to punish compensates for this disadvantage. Using American and Israeli college student samples, we find that alien rulers receive less compliance than native rulers, and that the ability to punish does not allow alien rulers to "catch-up" with native rulers.

Receptivity to Violence in Ethnically Divided Societies: A Micro-Level Mechanism of Perceived Horizontal Inequalities
Miodownik, Dan, and Lilach Nir. 2016. “Receptivity to Violence in Ethnically Divided Societies: A Micro-Level Mechanism of Perceived Horizontal Inequalities.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 39 (1): 22-45. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Although past scholarship shows that group inequalities in economic and political power (“Horizontal Inequalities”) correlate with dissent, violence, and civil wars, there is no direct empirical test of the perceptual explanation for this relationship at the individual level. Such explanation is vital to understanding how integration, inclusion in power-sharing agreements, and exclusion from political power filter down to mass publics. Moreover, subjective perceptions of group conditions do not always correspond to objective group realities. We hypothesize subjective perceptions attenuate the effect of objective exclusion on support for violence in ethnically divided societies. Cross-national comparative multilevel analyses of the 2005/6 Afrobarometer dataset (N = 19,278) confirm that subjective perceptions both amplify the effect of exclusion on acceptance of violence and alter the readiness of included groups to dissent. These findings carry implications for research, state-building, and conflict management.

Youth bulge and civil war: Why a country’s share of young adults explains only non-ethnic wars
Yair, Omer, and Dan Miodownik. 2016. “Youth bulge and civil war: Why a country’s share of young adults explains only non-ethnic wars.” Conflict Management & Peace Science 33 (1): 25-44. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Scholars agree that young men carry out most acts of political violence. Still, there is no consensus on the link between relatively large youth cohorts and the onset of violent, armed intra-state conflicts. In this paper, we examine the effect of youth bulge, a measure of the relative abundance of youth in a country, on the onset of two different types of civil wars—ethnic and non-ethnic wars. Building on and extending three datasets used by other scholars, we theoretically argue and empirically substantiate that, as a result of the negative effects of youth bulge on the economic conditions of the youth cohorts in the country, youth bulge affects the onset of non-ethnic wars, but not the onset of ethnic wars. Possible implications and directions for further research are then suggested.

The Political Legacies of Combat: Attitudes Toward War and Peace Among Israeli Ex-Combatants
Grossman, Guy, Devorah Manekin, and Dan Miodownik. 2015. “The Political Legacies of Combat: Attitudes Toward War and Peace Among Israeli Ex-Combatants.” International Organization 69 (4): 981-1009. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Recent research has highlighted combat's positive effects for political behavior, but it is unclear whether they extend to attitudes toward the conflict itself. We exploit the assignment of health rankings determining combat eligibility in the  Israel Defense Forces to examine the effect of combat exposure on support for peaceful conflict resolution. Given the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to global affairs, and its apparent intractability, the political consequences of combat become all the more pressing. We find that exposure to combat hardens attitudes toward the rival and reduces support for negotiation and compromise. Importantly, these attitudes translate into voting behavior: combatants are likely to vote for more hawkish parties. These findings call for caution in emphasizing the benign effects of combat and underscore the importance of reintegrating combatants during the transition from conflict to peace.

Group Segregation and Urban Violence
Bhavnani, Ravi, Karsten Donnay, Dan Miodownik, Maayan Mor, and Dirk Helbing. 2014. “Group Segregation and Urban Violence.” American Journal of Political Science 58: 226-245. Publisher's VersionAbstract


How does segregation shape intergroup violence in contested urban spaces? Should nominal rivals be kept separate or instead more closely integrated? We develop an empirically grounded agent-based model to understand the sources and patterns of violence in urban areas, employing Jerusalem as a demonstration case and seeding our model with microlevel, geocoded data on settlement patterns. An optimal set of parameters is selected to best fit the observed spatial distribution of violence in the city, with the calibrated model used to assess how different levels of segregation, reflecting various proposed virtual futures for Jerusalem, would shape violence. Our results suggest that besides spatial proximity, social distance is key to explaining conflict over urban areas: arrangements conducive to reducing the extent of intergroup interactionsincluding localized segregation, limits on mobility and migration, partition, and differentiation of political authoritycan be expected to dampen violence, although their effect depends decisively on social distance.

Nonstate Actors in Intrastate Conflicts
Miodownik, Dan, and Oren Barak, ed. 2013. Nonstate Actors in Intrastate Conflicts. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 256. JSTORAbstract

Intrastate conflicts, such as civil wars and ethnic confrontations, are the predominant form of organized violence in the world today. But internal strife can destabilize entire regions, drawing in people living beyond state borders-particularly those who share ideology, ethnicity, or kinship with one of the groups involved. These nonstate actors may not take part in formal armies or political parties, but they can play a significant role in the conflict. For example, when foreign volunteers forge alliances with domestic groups, they tend to attract other foreign interventions and may incite the state to centralize its power. Diasporan populations, depending on their connection to their homeland, might engage politically with financial support or overt aggression, either exacerbating or mitigating the conflict.  Nonstate Actors in Intrastate Conflicts takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the ways external individuals and groups become entangled with volatile states and how they influence the outcome of hostilities within a country's borders. Editors Dan Miodownik and Oren Barak bring together top scholars to examine case studies in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Turkey and explore the manifold roles of external nonstate actors. By shedding light on these overlooked participants whose causes and consequences can turn the tide of war, Nonstate Actors in Intrastate Conflicts provides a critical new perspective on the development and neutralization of civil war and ethnic violence.  Contributors: Oren Barak, Chanan Cohen, Robert A. Fitchette, Orit Gazit, Gallia Lindenstrauss, Nava Löwenheim, David Malet, Dan Miodownik, Maayan Mor, Avraham Sela, Gabriel (Gabi) Sheffer, Omer Yair.
Ethnic Minority Rule and Civil War Onset How Identity Salience, Fiscal Policy, and Natural Resource Profiles Moderate Outcomes
Miodownik, Dan, and Ravi Bhavnani. 2011. “Ethnic Minority Rule and Civil War Onset How Identity Salience, Fiscal Policy, and Natural Resource Profiles Moderate Outcomes.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 28: 438-458. Full TextAbstract


Using an agent-based computational framework designed to explore the incidence of conflict between two nominally rival ethnic groups, we demonstrate that the impact of ethnic minority rule on civil war onset could be more nuanced than posited in the literature. By testing the effects of three key moderating variables on ethnic minority rule, our analysis demonstrates that: (i) when ethnicity is assumed to be salient for all individuals, conflict onset increases with size of the minority in power, although when salience is permitted to vary, onset decreases as minority and majority approach parity; (ii) fiscal policy-the spending and investment decisions of the minority EGIP-moderates conflict; conflict decreases when leaders make sound decisions, increases under corrupt regimes, and peaks under ethno-nationalist regimes that place a premium on territorial conquest; and lastly (iii) natural resources-their type and distribution-affect the level of conflict which is lowest in agrarian economies, higher in the presence of lootable resources, and still higher when lootable resource are ``diffuse''. Our analysis generates a set of propositions to be tested empirically, subject to data availability.

Macro- and micro-level theories of violence in ethnic and non-ethnic civil wars
Bhavnani, Ravi, and Dan Miodownik. 2011. “Macro- and micro-level theories of violence in ethnic and non-ethnic civil wars.” War: An Introduction to Theories and Research on Collective Violence, 105-118, 105-118. Full TextAbstract

In examining both macro- and micro-level approaches to the study of civil war, this chapter considers scholarship in each of these traditions that either regards or disregards ethnicity as an essential explanation for violence. Given the voluminous literature on the subject, a select set of theories is reviewed: opportunity-based aggregate level arguments which address the causes of violence in non-ethnic civil wars; cross-national studies that evaluate the role of ethnicity using measures of fractionalization and polarization, as well as more recent configurational approaches that explicitly account for power differentials among politically relevant ethnic groups; micro-level approaches that analyze the dynamics of rebel recruitment, retention, and support, as well as the role that information, monitoring, and control play in the selective targeting of civilians; and disaggregated theories that explore the endogenous relationship between violence, ethnicity, and individual behavior. The chapter concludes with a brief review of existing macro-level datasets, as well as more recent efforts to build micro-level datasets that hold promise for bridging the macro-micro divide. © 2011 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.

Three Two Tango: Territorial Control and Selective Violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
Bhavnani, Ravi, Dan Miodownik, and Hyun Jin Choi. 2011. “Three Two Tango: Territorial Control and Selective Violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 55: 133-158. Full TextAbstract


This article extends the formal logic of Stathis Kalyvas' theory of selective violence to account for three political actors with asymmetric capabilities. In contrast to Kalyvas' theory, the authors' computer simulation suggests that (1) selective violence by the stronger actor will be concentrated in areas where weaker actors exercise control; (2) the relative level of selective violence used by weaker actors will be lower because of a reduced capacity to induce civilian collaboration; and (3) areas of parity among the three actors will exhibit low levels of selective violence perpetrated primarily by the strongest actor. Results from a logistic regression, using empirical data on Israel and two rival Palestinian factions from 2006 to 2008, are consistent with these predictions: Israel was more likely to use selective violence in areas largely controlled by Palestinian factions; zones of incomplete Israeli control were not prone to selective violence; and zones of mixed control witnessed moderate levels of selective violence, mainly by Israel. Nonetheless, Palestinian violence remained consistent with Kalyvas' predictions.

Violence and Control in Civil Conflict Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza
Bhavnani, Ravi, Dan Miodownik, and Hyun Fin Choi. 2011. “Violence and Control in Civil Conflict Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.” Comparative Politics 44: 61+. Full TextAbstract


What explains the use of selective and indiscriminate violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza from 1987 to 2005? Using micro-level data, an aggregated analysis indicates that areas of dominant but incomplete territorial control consistently experience more frequent and intense episodes of selective violence, providing support for Stathis Kalyvas's theory on the logic of civil violence. Disaggregating the analysis by each zone of control and perpetrator, however, offers only mixed empirical support for Kalyvas's predictions. While Palestinian-perpetrated violence is still consistent with theoretical expectations, Israel more frequently resorts to the use of selective violence where Palestinians exercise greater control. Such disconfirming evidence points to causal mechanisms previously unaccounted for and contributes to a more nuanced specification of the microfoundations of violence in civil conflict.

Between Replication and Docking: ``Adaptive Agents, Political Institutions, and Civic Traditions'' Revisited
Miodownik, Dan, Britt Cartrite, and Ravi Bhavnani. 2010. “Between Replication and Docking: ``Adaptive Agents, Political Institutions, and Civic Traditions'' Revisited.” JASSS-The Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 13. Full TextAbstract


This article has two primary objectives: (i) to replicate an agent-based model of social interaction by Bhavnani (2003), in which the author explicitly specifies mechanisms underpinning Robert Putnam's (1993) work on Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, bridging the gap between the study's historical starting point-political regimes that characterized 14th Century Italy-and contemporary levels of social capitaloreflected in a `civic' North and an `un-civic' South; and (ii) to extend the original analysis, using a landscape of Italy that accounts for population density. The replication exercise is performed by different authors using an entirely distinct ABM toolkit (PS-I) with its own rule set governing agent-interaction and cultural change. The extension, which more closely approximates a docking exercise, utilizes equal area cartograms otherwise known as density-equalizing maps (Gastner and Newman 2004) to resize the territory according to 1993 population estimates. Our results indicate that: (i) using the criterion of distributional equivalence, we experience mixed success in replicating the original model given our inability to restrict the selection of partners to `eligible' neighbors and limit the number of agent interactions in a timestep; (ii) increasing the number of agents and introducing more realistic population distributions in our extension of the replication model increases distributional equivalence; (iii) using the weaker criteria of relational alignment, both the replication model and its extension capture the basic relationship between institutional effectiveness and civic change, the effect of open boundaries, historical shocks, and path dependence; and (iv) that replication and docking may be usefully combined in model-to-model analysis, with an eye towards verification, reimplementation, and alignment.

Does Political Decentralization Exacerbate or Ameliorate Ethnopolitical Mobilization? A Test of Contesting Propositions
Miodownik, Dan, and Britt Cartrite. 2010. “Does Political Decentralization Exacerbate or Ameliorate Ethnopolitical Mobilization? A Test of Contesting Propositions.” Political Research Quarterly 63: 731-746. Full TextAbstract


This article presents the results of an experiment that attempted the reconciliation of opposite expectations regarding the effectiveness of political decentralization on ethno-political mobilization. An agent-based model was run thousands of times to explore the effect of decentralization. The experiments suggest that the impact is nonlinear: weak and medium levels of decentralization increase the likelihood of ethno-political mobilization, while strong decentralization decreases it. The explanation derives from how minority control of political institutions affects the dynamic of minority identity ascription and the realization of the goal or the frustration of ethnic members seeking more complete political dominance of the regional ideational space.

Groups and violence
Bhavnani, Ravi, Dan Miodownik, and Rick Riolo. 2010. “Groups and violence.” Estimating Impact: A Handbook of Computational Methods and Models for Anticipating Economic, Social, Political and Security Effects in International Interventions, 205-237, 205-237. Full TextAbstract


Violence can take place along a multitude of cleavages, e.g., (1) between political groups like the Kach Movement, pitting West Bank settlers against Israeli governments supporting the land-for-peace agenda; (2) between religious groups, such as Christians and Muslims in the Nigerian cities of Jos and Kaduna; (3) along class lines, as in India between Dalits and members of the Brahminical upper castes, upwardly mobile intermediate castes, and even other backward castes such as the Thevars; and (4) between ethnic groups such as the Hutu and Tutsi, both within and across state boundaries in Rwanda and neighboring Burundi. © 2010 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.

Abstractions, Ensembles, and Virtualizations Simplicity and Complexity in Agent-Based Modeling
Lustick, Ian S., and Dan Miodownik. 2009. “Abstractions, Ensembles, and Virtualizations Simplicity and Complexity in Agent-Based Modeling.” Comparative Politics 41: 223+. Full TextAbstract


In this paper we consider the uses political scientists have made of agent-based modeling (ABM) and the challenges associated with designing research at differing levels of complexity. We propose a typology of ABM research designs-investigating abstractions, testing theories comprised of ensembles of simple variables, or implementing virtualizations of complex situations. Our illustrations are drawn from work done on problems pertaining to the evolution of collective identities and norms and to their contribution to collective action. By increasing the visibility of research design questions and clarifying the choices and opportunities associated with them, we seek to expand the scope of responsible methodological uses of ABM techniques and render the increasing variety of that work accessible to wider audiences.