research interests

Conflict & Conflict Processes: civil war, militarized interstate disputes (MIDS), political shocks; Conflict Management & recurrence

human security & Peace: Health, Human rights, international assistance, Post-conflict development, peacekeeping & Peacebuilding


Rising Powers, Status Competition, & Global Governance

Volgy, Thomas J., & Kelly Marie Gordell. 2019. “Rising powers, status competition, and global governance: a closer look at three contested concepts for analyzing status dynamics in international politics.” Contemporary Politics.

Available Online Here.

Abstract: This article focuses on the intersection of rising powers, competition for status, and the extent to which governance is influenced by such elements. Despite extensive scholarly attention to these concepts, contestation regarding the classification of state powers, the exact role status plays, and the consequences that can exist when it comes to global and regional forms of governance continues. We contend that the majority of states within this project have effectively risen, with some potentially still rising (from one grouping to another), while two countries, Iran and Turkey, are considered at best rising, but with uncertain trajectories. It remains unclear how they may rise sufficiently to become influential as ‘rising’ powers in the current state of international politics. We argue as well that the impact of status seeking on global governance is highly variable and, depending on the status seeking strategy chosen, may not exacerbate conflicts between rising powers.

Keywords: Rising powers, status, governance, conflict, cooperation


CONFlict, regions, & regional hierarchies

Volgy, thomas J., Kelly marie gordell, paul bezerra, & jon patrick rhamey, jr. 2017. “conflict, regions, and regional hierarchies.” oxford research encyclopedia of politics. oxford university press.

Available online here.

Abstract: Despite decades of scholarly attention to conflict and cooperation processes in international politics, rigorous, comparative, large-N analyses of these questions at the region level are difficult to find in the literature. Turning attention to a region level unit of analysis does not require abandoning decades of scholarship at the state or dyad levels. Regional propensity for cooperation or conflict is likely to be conditioned by a number of prominent explanations of these phenomena at state/dyad levels, which may be conceived in their regional aggregates as so-called regional fault lines or baseline conditions. These include the presence of major and/or regional powers, interstate rivalries, unresolved territorial claims, civil wars, regime similarity, trade relationships, and common membership in intergovernmental organizations.

Of these baseline conditions, the impact of major and regional powers on regional patterns of cooperation and conflict is notable for both its theoretical and practical implications. Power transition theory, hegemonic stability theory, hierarchical theory, and long cycle theory all suggest major—and to a lesser extent regional—powers will seek to establish order within areas under their influence; alternatively, the overwhelming capabilities these states bring to a region arguably act as a deterrent inhibiting conflict. Empirical analysis reveals—irrespective of the causal mechanism at hand—regions characterized by the presence of a major or regional power experience less conflict. Moving forward, future research should work to test the two plausible causal mechanisms for this finding—order building versus deterrence—to determine the true nature of hierarchy’s pacifying influence.

Keywords: Regions, Conflict, Hierarchy, MIDs, Major Powers, Regional Powers

Conflict, regions, & regional hierarchies - supplemental materials:

Conflict, Regions, and Regional Hierarchies: Criteria & Coding - Click to download

Militarized Interstate Disputes Regional List Data - Click to download

Oxford Replication Data - Multi-format: Excel Stata Stata do


Data collection & coding

Volgy, Thomas J., Paul bezerra, jacob cramer, and j. patrick rhamey, jr. 2017. the case for comparative regional analysis in international politics. international studies review. oo, 1-27.

Available online here.

Foundations of Rebel Group Emergence (FORGE) Dataset - Braithwaite, Jessica Maves and Kathleen Gallagher Cunningham. “When Organizations Rebel: Introducing the Foundations of Rebel Group Emergence Dataset.”

Available online here.

Anatomy of Resistance Campaigns Data Project - Braithwaite, Jessica Maves, Charles Butcher, and Jonathan Pinckney.

Information available here.