My research explores domestic constraints on foreign policy, spanning substate conflict to diaspora mobilization. I am particularly interested in studying how insurgencies impact a state’s foreign policies. I have examined how insurgencies prevent states from holding other states accountable for their human rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council. States that either indulge in extra judicial measures to repress insurgencies or intend to keep that option on the table are more reluctant to reprimand other states in anticipation of condemnation of their own actions. My dissertation further explores the mechanisms behind the insurgency-induced constraints on foreign policy and focuses on the impact of insurgencies on economic integration, particularly in South Asia.

Dissertation Summary:

My dissertation’s main research question lies at the nexus of security and economics: What is the impact of insurgencies on international economic integration? The promotion of strong international institutions and free trade policies characterizes the US-led liberal world order after 1945. Regional trade agreements have been on the rise with 287 agreements in force as of May 2018. However, certain countries are more integrated in the international economic system than others, especially at the regional level. Conventional wisdom suggests that differential integration is based on domestic concerns, which particularly include the number and type of interest groups vested in promoting free trade.

I propose an alternative domestic-level explanation. I assert that insurgencies can help explain (the lack of) economic integration. In order to aspire to the Westphalian ideal of complete political control with a monopoly on force, a state countering an insurgency is more likely to be possessive of its sovereignty. In turn, the state’s sense of insecurity will lead to states being more reluctant to give up their sovereign rights in international institutions.

I use a multi-method approach to provide evidence of this negative relationship between insurgencies and economic integration. The quantitative analyses show lower levels of economic integration for insurgency-ridden states, and I trace the causal mechanism with a case study of India that includes original archival, interview, and survey data.

Publications & Working Papers:

Prasad, Shubha Kamala and Filip Savatic. “Diasporic Foreign Policy Interest Groups in the US: Conflict, Democracy, and Political Entrepreneurship.” Forthcoming in Perspectives on Politics. (Recipient of Martin O. Heisler Award for best graduate student paper presented at ISA 2019 in ethnicity, nationalism, and/or migration.)

Prasad, Shubha Kamala. “State (In)security: The Impact of Insurgencies on Regional Integration.” Under Review.

Prasad, Shubha Kamala and Irfan Nooruddin. “States Living in Glasshouses. . . : The Effect of DomesticInsurgency on How Countries Vote in the UN Human Rights Council.” Under Review.

Prasad, Shubha Kamala. “Democracies & Repression: Using the Law for Increased Domestic Coercive Capacity.”

Prasad, Shubha Kamala, Maneesh Arora , and Sono Shah. “How to Win Friends and Influence People: The India Lobby’s Strategic Contributions.”

Prasad, Shubha Kamala and Debak Das. “Whose Democracy is it Anyway? Public Opinion and Crisis Decision-making in India.”