Max Margulies

Ph.D. Student in International Relations

Dissertation Title: Military Recruitment in New States

Dissertation Committee: Michael Horowitz (chair), Beth Simmons, Alex Weisiger, Jessica Stanton

Summary:  I study how states make decisions about how to design their militaries, focusing specifically on the military recruitment practices of states, such as whether to use conscripts or volunteers. How states organize their militaries affects key outcomes of interest in International Relations, such as decisions about whether to use force and effectiveness when doing so, as well as statebuilding and national identity. My dissertation shows that, in contrast to prior work, military design is affected by hierarchical relations between states. Military influence from other states after independence is more important for understanding military recruitment than historical legacies or domestic politics. This is particularly interesting given that existing research views military policy as an area in which states should want to carefully guard their autonomy, and military recruitment as determined by domestic factors like national ideology.

I demonstrate that there are three pathways that drive national military recruitment decisions. First, states emulate the practices of other states that have military influence over them, such as powerful patrons. The other pathways depend on external threats—if they have no patron and threats are high, they will conscript, but if threats are low, state decision-making becomes much more idiosyncratic. My approach is multi-method, featuring both statistical analysis and case studies that involved archival research and interviews. 

University of Pennsylvania
The Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics
133 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6215
Phone: (215) 898-7641

Nicholas Sambanis Chair
Alex Weisiger Graduate Chair
Daniel Hopkins Undergraduate Chair