Please email me for a copy of my CV: lcwells (at) memphis (dot) edu

Research Interests

Natural disasters, environment and climate

Intrastate conflict behavior

State capacity

Innovation and diffusion of policies

Peacekeeping and peacebuilding

Agricultural economics


When natural disasters like floods or droughts happen, people experience their wrath, losing lives, livelihoods, homes and security. Natural disasters disrupt the status quo, and create social, humanitarian and political needs. In most cases, people turn to their governments to provide for these needs. However, governments vary widely in their ability and willingness to provide for these needs. Citizens evaluate the outcomes of the government’s actions in response to their needs arising from the effects of the natural disaster. Natural disasters affect the duration of leaders’ tenure, the likelihood of contentious behavior in society, and the humanitarian consequences, like food and housing security, facing those affected by disasters. I find that natural disasters significantly shorten leaders’ time in office, have negative humanitarian and human rights consequences, and increase the likelihood of contentious behavior.

Introduction: The Political Implications of Natural Disasters

Project abstract

Chapter 1: Introduction, project overview

Introduction abstract

Chapter 2: Theory: States’ willingness and ability to respond to natural disasters.

Chapter 2 abstract

Chapter 3: The Human Rights Implications of Natural Disasters

Chapter 3 abstract

Chapter 4: Leadership Tenure

Chapter 4 abstract

Chapter 5: Natural Disasters and Contentious Behavior

Chapter 5 abstract

Chapter 6: Conclusion

Chapter 6 abstract



“Climate Refugees, Gender and Security: The Case of the U.S. and Mexico.” (Under review)

“Natural Disasters and Leadership Tenure” (Under review)


Working Papers

Losing Respect: The Human Rights Consequences of Natural Disasters (To be presented at ISA-Midwest, November 2012)

Getting Past Our Differences: Cooperation and Natural Disasters

Spotlighting Grievances: Contentious Behavior and Natural Disasters

Accountability and Consequences: Leadership Tenure and Natural Disasters

Post-secondary Education in Post-conflict Societies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *