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Conflict and Polarization

A large body of research has shown the substantial role that violent conflict plays in underdevelopment around the world, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. The Conflict and Polarization initiative fosters an interdisciplinary community of scholars at Stanford from fields including political science, economics, social psychology, and finance who are interested in helping to solving the problems of violent conflict and political polarization by cultivating new ideas about the causes, effects, and prevention of violent conflicts around the world and their impact on global development.

Initiative activities:

Please contact us if you are interested in any of these activities.

  • Reading group: a regular internal, and inclusive reading group on conflict that spans disciplinary lines, where members of different units become acquainted with each other’s work, and have a chance to identify frontier opportunities for inter-disciplinary research. Please check out the reading group page for upcoming meetings.

  • Research Assistant opportunities for Stanford students and pre-doctoral opportunities more generally.
  • Conference: A focus of this year’s activities will be a major academic conference,  January 21-February 1, 2020. This conference will bring academics from across the university and elsewhere to campus, as well as policymakers involved in conflict mediation and mitigation. The objective will be both to foster discussion, understand the major challenges facing policymakers, and disseminate the lessons of the conflict and polarization research being done at Stanford. Please let us know if you are interested in attending.
  • Policy outreach: we are eager to partner with other research groups and organizations working to reduce polarization and conflict. If you have projects that might be good fits for a project-based class involving faculty and students, in particular, let us know.

Research and working papers

Essential readings

This evolving list of readings introduce some core ideas developed by our group on conflict, polarization and its mitigation that we believe are useful to know for practitioners and researchers, across disciplines, that are interested in mitigating conflict.

Economics, International Relations and Political Science

Psychology and Organizational Behavior

Visit the research page for a more complete list of the team's related research.


You can find out more about each member of the Conflict and Polarization Initiative on the team page.

Project Lead:

  • Saumitra Jha, Graduate School of Business Political Economy

Core faculty members:

Initiative fellows:

Media mentions

Friends of the initiative:

On campus:
Stanford alumni: