Working Papers

"International Institutions and Market Enforcement: Generating Compliance in the Regime to Combat Terrorist Financing."                           (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: Under what conditions can international institutions have independent effects on state behavior? This paper highlights how institutional monitoring in the form of a non-complier list can drive policy change by outsourcing enforcement to market actors. Every day, market actors make decisions about how to allocate resources to foreign countries, most of which have strong incentives to conceal negative information. When institutional monitoring fills this gap, it can lead to market enforcement, whereby market actors restrict access to capital in non-compliant states and incentivize increased compliance. I test this theory through an analysis of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body that issues non-binding recommendations about how states should combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. I show how the FATF’s public listing of non-compliant jurisdictions has significantly increased the number of states with laws criminalizing terrorist financing. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative evidence, I illustrate the causal mechanism for this process: international banks and investors serve as outside enforcers for the FATF. As further evidence for this mechanism, I show how the FATF list has affected sovereign debt yield spreads in listed states. Finally, I illustrate the full causal process through a case study of Thailand, highlighting how the financial consequences of the FATF listing process led policymakers to improve compliance with FATF recommendations. 

PDF iconMorse_JobMarketPaper_Oct2016.pdf

"Do "Red Lines" Produce Audience Costs?: Results from a Survey Experiment on US Policy Toward Syria"                                                            (Under Review)

Abstract: International relations scholars increasingly turn to survey experiments to test key assumptions underlying theories like audience costs. By presenting non-specific foreign policy crises, scholars reduce confounders and highlight underlying causal processes, but they also exclude contextual details that shape how people form opinions about policy. This paper probes the importance of context for audience costs through a survey experiment about a real-world foreign policy crisis. In 2012, US President Barack Obama stated that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a "red line." The survey experiment was conducted in August 2013, when President Obama failed to respond to Syria's use of chemical weapons. I find no evidence of audience costs; instead partisan attitudes are remarkably fixed, irrespective of information or framing.  My findings highlight how biased information processing may mute the audience cost relationship, and also suggest some foreign policy crises may not be salient enough to generate audience costs.

PDF iconMorse_Redlines_Summer2016.pdf

"Protecting Trade by Legalizing Political Disputes: Why Countries Bring Cases to the International Court of Justice" (with Christina Davis) (Under Review)                                            

Abstract: How does economic interdependence shape political relations? We show a new pathway to support a commercial peace in which economic interdependence changes strategies for conflict management. The uncertainty arising from political disputes between countries can depress trade flows. As states seek to protect trade from such negative effects, they are more likely to bring their disputes to legal venues. We assess this argument by analyzing why countries bring cases to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Using data on 190 countries from 1960 to 2013, we find that countries are more likely to file ICJ cases against important trading partners than against states with low levels of shared trade. A similar logic extends to territorial disputes, where we find trade dependent states are less likely to initiate military action. We conclude that economic interdependence changes the incentives for how states resolve their disputes.

PDF iconLegalizingPoliticalDisputes_Oct2016.pdf