Area of Study
Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 120

Erica De Bruin’s research interests include civil-military relations and civil war. Her work focuses in particular on the dynamics of military coups, the spread of militarized policing, and the ways in which armed groups build legitimacy. She is the author of How to Prevent Coups d’état: Counterbalancing and Regime Survival (Cornell University Press, 2020). Her work has been published in the Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Foreign Affairs, and featured in media outlets including the New Yorker, New York Times, Washington Post, Vox, Slate, and elsewhere. 

For the 2020-2021 academic year, De Bruin is serving as a Non-Resident Fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. She is currently working on a National Science Foundation-funded project on the determinants of civilian support for armed groups, as well as a project on the global spread of militarized policing. De Bruin worked previously as a research associate in U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. She received her doctorate from the Department of Political Science at Yale University in 2014. 

Recent Courses Taught

International Security
Civil War
Civil-Military Relations
Introduction to International Relations
U.S. Foreign Policy


  • National Science Foundation grant to support the project “Explaining Civilian Support for Political and Criminal Armed Groups” (with Michael Weintraub and Livia Schubiger), 2017-present
  • Levitt Summer Research Group Grant (with Sharon Rivera), Hamilton College, 2020
  • Class of 1966 Career Development Award, Hamilton College, 2019
  • International Peace Research Association Foundation grant to support the project “How Coups Escalate to Civil War,” 2016-2017
  • Centennial Center Visiting Scholar Award, American Political Science Association, 2013
  • Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 2009

Selected Publications

  • How to Prevent Coups d’état: Counterbalancing and Regime Survival (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020)
  • “Mapping Coercive Institutions: The State Security Forces Dataset, 1960-2010.” Journal of Peace Research (2020), doi: 10.1177/0022343320913089
  • “Will There Be Blood? The Determinants of Violence During Coups d’état,” Journal of Peace Research 56, no. 6 (2019): 797-811
  • “Coups, Protests, and Violence: What to Expect in Bolivia.” Political Violence @ a Glance, Blog post, November 25, 2019
  • “Why Does the United States Still Believe the Myth of the ‘Good Coup’?” The Washington Post, Op-ed, November 13, 2019
  • “Trump Wants Venezuela’s Military to Remove its President. But Maduro Has Made That Difficult,” The Washington Post, Monkey Cage, Blog post, May, 2019
  • “Preventing Coups d’état: How Counterbalancing Works,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 62, no. 7 (2018): 1433-1458
  • “Coup-Proofing for Dummies: The Benefits of Following the Maliki Playbook,” Foreign Affairs Snapshot, July 27, 2014

Professional Affiliations

American Political Science Association
International Studies Association
American Association of University Women
Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
Women in Conflict Studies

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Yale University
M.Phil., Yale University
M.A., Yale University 
B.A. Columbia University


War and Coup Prevention in Developing States

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