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Iris Malone

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Iris Malone

Ph.D. Candidate


Iris Malone is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Political Science Department at Stanford University. Her research examines why civil wars begin and how uncertainty affects conflict.
Her book-style dissertation, “Insurgency Formation and Civil War Onset,” asks why some armed conflicts escalate into civil wars while others do not. It also introduces a new large-scale dataset on the characteristics of 1,570 armed groups to ground future empirical work on insurgency and terrorism dynamics.
In the book project, she develops a new theory about how asymmetric information increases the risk of civil war. Using formal logic, elite interviews, and machine learning techniques, Iris argues that attempts to degrade and destroy potential insurgent groups sometimes fail due to a mismatch between the strength of an armed group and the resources a state allocates to combat it.  
Her research has been supported, in part, by the Tobin Project, the Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, the Stanford Europe Center, the Ric Weiland Graduate Fellowship, and the Stanford Vice Provost for Graduate Education.
At Stanford, Iris has been a teaching assistant for International Security in a Changing World, Introduction to International Relations, and Challenges and Dilemmas in American Foreign Policy for which she received a Centennial Teaching Award in 2018. She has also developed curriculum for several multi-day crisis simulations used in International Security in a Changing World and Challenges and Dilemmas in America Foreign Policy.
Prior to graduate school, Iris had a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Indonesia. She graduated from Cornell University with degrees in Chemistry and Government, summa cum laude.