Public service provision and natural resource management in conflict-affected settings; UN peacekeeping; statebuilding; citizen-monitoring and natural resource management; field experiments.
Matto Mildenberger, Neil Narang, William Nomikos
Dissertation Title & Abstract
Comparative Analyses of Environmental Deprivation and Political Mobilization
My dissertation examines how environmental problems both contribute to and are shaped by different forms of political mobilization, through three lines of inquiry. My first chapter tests if international organizations like the United Nations can help restore environmental governance in countries emerging from violent conflict. In my second chapter, I leverage data collected over nine months of fieldwork in Liberia to identify the conditions under which shortages in environmental goods and services spark protest. The final chapter of my dissertation investigates whether air pollution catalyzes or inhibits political participation, using novel data from a major grassroots environmental organization in the United States.
Altogether, my research helps advance our understanding of how environmental problems and politics are deeply intertwined. My first chapter demonstrates that international peacekeeping forces can reshape natural resource management in the wake of violent conflict, potentially providing a pathway to economic development. My second chapter highlights how non-state actors may prove crucial to mitigating the otherwise destabilizing impacts of global environmental problems like climate change. My final chapter bolsters existing research on environmental justice, demonstrating how environmental problems can reinforce the systems of political marginalization they stem from by undermining prospects for mass mobilization.
BA, Environmental Science and Policy, Duke University