Meet 2020 Carnegie Fellow Jason Lyall, Dartmouth College

The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program recognizes an exceptional group of both established and emerging scholars, journalists, and authors with the goal of strengthening U.S. democracy, driving technological and cultural creativity, exploring global connections and global ruptures, and improving both natural and human environments. 

How will the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program impact your research and overall career?

I’m very grateful to the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program for providing the resources and, equally as important, the time to launch my book project on humanitarian aid in violent settings. These funds will help support surveys and experiments on the effects of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq. I’ll also be able to travel to these countries to conduct research as well as involve Dartmouth students in the process of designing and launching these studies.

What research topics do you primarily focus on? How can people access your work?

I study the drivers and effects of political violence in conventional and civil wars. I just finished a book, Divided Armies, that examines how inequality shapes the fates of armies on battlefields since 1800. I also use fieldwork and experiments to study the effects of civilian casualties and economic aid in places like Afghanistan. My work has been published in American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Foreign Affairs, International Organization, Journal of Conflict ResolutionJournal of Peace ResearchJournal of Politics, and World Politics, among others. Further information can be found at I also tweet at @jaylyall_red5.

Do you have any advice for students in political science, including tips on how to find funding and support for research projects?

As a general matter, I would encourage students to read broadly, especially outside of political science, to help identify interesting problems and puzzles. Students should also apply broadly for funding. Too often we take ourselves out of the running because we think we’re a poor fit or not competitive. Imposter syndrome is real, it’s true, but you can’t win grants if you don’t apply for them, so you have to quiet the voices of doubt.

Jason Lyall is the James Wright Chair in Transnational Politics and Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College, where he directs the Political Violence FieldLab at the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. Dr. Lyall uses historical evidence, field work, surveys, and experiments to better understand the effects of violence in conventional and guerilla wars. His 2020 book, Divided Armies: Inequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War, examines how disparities in a society affects its army’s success in wartime. For his Carnegie project, Dr. Lyall will investigate the delivery of humanitarian aid in violent settings, seeking to understand when and why such programs can be effective instead of unintentionally prolonging conflicts.