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Kolby is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Political Science. He studies civil conflict and political economy, particularly in South and Southeast Asia.
His dissertation project, "Militant Recruitment In and Out of Ceasefire," looks at the ways in which violence shapes militant organizations and the soldiers they recruit. It explores how low levels of violence following a ceasefire affect rebel groups' ability to screen and control soldiers and to recruit an ethnically and ideologically diverse coalition of recruits. The theory side of the project brings together a series of formal models of recruitment and control with extensive qualitative interviews of armed leaders, current and former combatants, and civilian observers in separatist conflicts in Northeast India and Sri Lanka. It then tests the implications with comparative case studies, conjoint survey experiments and behavioral games among potential recruits in Northeast India, and original cross-case data on armed group fragmentation and control.
His other research includes work on the political effects of conscription during the Vietnam War and on recruitment of foreigners by state militaries.