For other overviews of my work, see my CV and google scholar.

Global Politics of AI and Technology

Progress in artificial Intelligence (AI) is likely to be one of the most important developments in the coming century. There is a non-trivial chance that we will see, in two decades, developments that transform society, the economy, and international relations. These will pose radical opportunities and challenges. I seek to anticipate these and identify levers for avoiding the risks. In particular I think about how global politics will shape, and be shaped by, the evolution of AI. I do this work at the Centre for the Governance of AI (GovAI), Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford. (GovAI's google scholar page.) I also consult with governments, AI labs, and non-profits. At the Asilomar Beneficial AI 2017 Conference we articulated some principles for the development of AI.

For my talks, see allandafoe/ai-talks

  1. "The Logic of Strategic Assets: From Oil to AI." (2020). Jeff Ding and Allan Dafoe. R&R. (arxiv)

    • On recommended reading list for the European Council on Foreign Relations director's podcast (at 31:30)

  2. "Contact tracing apps can help stop coronavirus. But they can hurt privacy." April 2020. Monkey Cage, Washington Post. Toby Shevlane, Ben Garfinkel, Allan Dafoe. (link)

  3. "Toward Trustworthy AI Development: Mechanisms for Supporting Verifiable Claims." 2020. Miles Brundage, Shahar Avin, Jasmine Wang, et al.

  4. "The Offense-Defense Balance of Scientific Knowledge: Does Publishing AI Research Reduce Misuse of the Technology?" (2020). In Proceedings of the 2020 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES20). Toby Shevlane and Allan Dafoe. (arxiv)

  5. "The Windfall Clause: Distributing the Benefits of AI for the Common Good." (2020). In Proceedings of the 2020 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES’20). Cullen O’Keefe, Peter Cihon, Carrick Flynn, Ben Garfinkel, Jade Leung and Allan Dafoe. (arxiv)

    • "The Windfall Clause: Distributing the Benefits of AI." (2020). Centre for the Governance of AI Technical Report. Cullen O’Keefe, Peter Cihon, Carrick Flynn, Ben Garfinkel, Jade Leung and Allan Dafoe. (link)

  6. "Social and Governance Implications of Improved Data Efficiency." (2020). In Proceedings of the 2020 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES20). Aaron Tucker, Markus Anderljung, and Allan Dafoe. (arxiv).

  7. "Thinking About Risks From AI: Accidents, Misuse, and Structure." (2019). Lawfare. Remco Zwetsloot and Allan Dafoe.

  8. "Artificial Intelligence: American Attitudes and Trends." (2019). Baobao Zhang and Allan Dafoe. Oxford, UK: Center for the Governance of AI, Future of Humanity Institute, University of Oxford. (pdf, html)

  9. U.S. Public Opinion on the Governance of Artificial Intelligence. (2020). In Proceedings of the 2020 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES’20). Baobao Zhang and Allan Dafoe. (arxiv)

  10. "How does the Offense-Defense Balance Scale?" (2019). The Journal of Strategic Studies. Ben Garfinkel and Allan Dafoe. 42:6, 736-763. (journal, pdf)

  11. "Policy Desiderata for Superintelligent AI: A Vector Field Approach." (2020). Nick Bostrom, Allan Dafoe, and Carrick Flynn. in S. Matthew Liao ed. Ethics of Artificial Intelligence. New York: Oxford University Press. (pdf, publisher)

  12. "AI Governance: A Research Agenda." 2018. Governance of AI Report.

  13. "The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation." (2018). Miles Brundage, Shahar Avin, ..., Allan Dafoe, ..., Dario Amodei.

  14. "When will AI exceed human performance? Evidence from AI experts." (2018). Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research. 62: 729-754. Katja Grace, John Salvatier, Allan Dafoe, Baobao Zhang, Owain Evans. (journal, arXiv) (Media: #16 in Altmetric most discussed articles of 2017, BBC, Newsweek, NewScientist, Tech Review, ZDNet, Musk, Slate Star Codex, The Economist,...)

  15. Syllabus for Yale seminar "Global Politics of AI", 2017.

  16. Evidence submitted to Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence (2017). w/ Miles Brundage, on behalf of Future of Humanity Institute. (pdf)

  17. "Yes, We Are Worried About the Existential Risk of Artificial Intelligence." (2016). MIT Technology Review. November 2. Allan Dafoe and Stuart Russell. (link, replication files)

  18. "On Technological Determinism: A Typology, Scope Conditions, and a Mechanism." (2015). Science, Technology, & Human Values. 40: 1047-1076. Allan Dafoe. (journal) (pdf)

Reputation, Honor, Provocation, Resolve

Leaders and publics care about reputation and honor. This concern seems to be an important cause of war. Is it? I investigate this through survey experiments, natural experiments, and theory.

  1. "Coercion and the Credibility of Assurances." Forthcoming at The Journal of Politics. Matthew Cebul, Allan Dafoe, & Nuno Monteiro. (pdf, appendix)

  2. "Coercion and Provocation." Forthcoming at The Journal of Conflict Resolution. Allan Dafoe, Sophia Hatz, and Baobao Zhang. (pdf)

  3. "Authoritarian Audiences and Government Rhetoric in International Crises: Evidence from China." (2019). International Studies Quarterly. 63(4): 963-973. Jessica Weiss & Allan Dafoe (pdf, prereg, journal).

  4. "Reputations for Resolve and Higher-Order Beliefs in Crisis Bargaining." Allan Dafoe and Remco Zwetsloot. (pdf) R&R

  5. "Provocation, Public Opinion, and Crisis Escalation: Evidence from China." Allan Dafoe & Jessica Weiss (pdf, prereg)

  6. "Honor and War: Southern U.S. Presidents and the Effects of Concern for Reputation." (2016). World Politics. 68(2): 341-381. Allan Dafoe & Devin Caughey. (pdf; link to other files)

  7. "Leader Influence and Reputation Formation in World Politics." (2018). American Journal of Political Science. 62(2): 325-339. Jonathan Renshon, Allan Dafoe, & Paul Huth. (pdf, journal)

  8. "Reputation and Status as Motives for War." (2014). Annual Review of Political Science. 17: 371-393. Allan Dafoe, Jonathan Renshon, & Paul Huth. (pdf)

  9. "Resolve, Reputation, and War: Cultures of Honor and Leaders’ Time-in-Office." (2012). UC Berkeley Dissertation. (pdf or here)

  10. "Review of Thomas Lindemann's 'Causes of War: the Struggle for Recognition.'" (2011). Journal of Peace Research. 48(5): 685-686. (pdf)

The Liberal Peace

The peace amongst liberal countries is one of the most important phenomena for the wellbeing of humanity. I seek to understand what causes it.

  1. "The Suffragist Peace." (2020). International Organization. Joslyn N. Barnhart, Robert F. Trager, Elizabeth N. Saunders, Allan Dafoe. (pdf)

      • "Women’s Suffrage and the Democratic Peace: Female Voters Slow the March to War." (2020.) Foreign Affairs. August 18. Joslyn N. Barnhart, Robert F. Trager, Elizabeth N. Saunders, Allan Dafoe. (link)

  2. Consulted with Steven Pinker who advised President Obama's Athens speech about how to characterize the democratic peace. November 14, 2016. (link)

  3. "Observing the Capitalist Peace: Examining Market-Mediated Signaling and Other Mechanisms." (2014). Journal of Peace Research. 51(5): 619-633. Allan Dafoe & Nina Kelsey. (journal, pdf, rep files)

      • Runner-up for Nils Petter Gleditsch JPR Article of the Year Award, 2014.

  4. "The Democratic Peace: Weighing the Evidence and Cautious Inference." (2013). International Studies Quarterly. 57(1): 201-214. Allan Dafoe, John R. Oneal & Bruce Russett. (article pdf) (replication files)

  5. "Does Capitalism Account for the Democratic Peace? The Evidence Still Says No." (2013). In Assessing the Capitalist Peace, ed. Gerald Schneider & Nils Petter Gleditsch. Routledge. Allan Dafoe & Bruce Russett. (replication files)

  6. Moderator and contributor for National Intelligence Council website on Global Trends 2030; August 2012. Moderated virtual roundtable involving William Thompson, Jack S. Levy, Richard Rosecrance, Benjamin Fordham, Bradley Thayer, Joshua Goldstein, Steven Pinker, and Erik Gartzke.

  7. "Statistical Critiques of the Democratic Peace: Caveat Emptor." (2011). American Journal of Political Science. 55(2): 247-262. Allan Dafoe. (article pdf) (supporting information) (replication files)


Causal inference is central to social science. Many of our tools depend on implausible parametric assumptions, are fragile, and opaque. I seek to develop tools for causal inference, particularly for observational data, that do not depend on implausible assumptions, are more robust, and more transparent.

  1. "A study of the impact of data sharing on article citations using journal policies as a natural experiment." (2019). Christensen G, Dafoe A, Miguel E, Moore DA, Rose AK. PloS one. Dec 18;14(12):e0225883. (journal open)

  2. "Beyond the Sharp Null: Permutation Tests, Heterogeneous Effects, and Bounded Null Hypotheses." Devin Caughey, Allan Dafoe, & Luke Miratrix. (arXiv)

  3. "The Magnitude and Direction of Collider Bias for Binary Variables." (2019). Trang Nguyen, Allan Dafoe, & Elizabeth Ogburn. Epidemiologic Methods. Mar 12; 8(1). (journal, arXiv)

  4. "Information Equivalence in Survey Experiments." (2018). Political Analysis. 26(4): 399-416. doi:10.1017/pan.2018.9. Allan Dafoe, Baobao Zhang, & Devin Caughey. (link to pdf and pre-analysis plan)

  5. "Nonparametric Identification of Causal Effects under Temporal Dependence." (2018). Sociological Methods & Research. 47(2): 136-168. Allan Dafoe. (pdf, journal, pdf with appendix)

  6. "Nonparametric Combination (NPC): A Framework for Testing Elaborate Theories." (2017). Journal of Politics. 79(2): 688-701. Devin Caughey, Allan Dafoe & Jason Seawright. (pdf)

  7. "Commentary on John Gerring's Social Science Methodology." (2012). Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Newsletter. 10(1):1-4. Allan Dafoe. (pdf)


Science depends on transparency. I work to promote better transparency norms and practices: scientists should share complete replication files, should preregister their analyses, should make their analyses transparent, and should evaluate the robustness of their results to reasonable alternative specifications.

  1. Leamer-Rosenthal Prize for Open Social Science: Emerging Researcher. (2015).

  2. "Promoting an Open Research Culture." (2015). Science. 348 (6242): 1422-1425. 26 June. B. A. Nosek, G. Alter, G. C. Banks, ..., A. Dafoe, ..., T. Yarkoni. (journal) (pdf)

  3. "Science Deserves Better: The Imperative to Share Complete Replication Files." (2014). PS: Political Science & Politics. 47(1): 60-66. Allan Dafoe. (journal) (pdf) (blogs 1, 2, 3) (replication files)

Other Topics

  1. "Is There a War Party? Party Change, the Left-Right Divide, and International Conflict." Journal of Conflict Resolution. Forthcoming. Andrew Bertoli, Allan Dafoe, & Robert Trager. (pdf, journal)

  2. "Fitness reduction for uncooperative fig wasps through reduced offspring size: A third component of host sanctions." (2016). Ecology. K. Charlotte Jandér, Allan Dafoe, E. Allen Herre. (pdf, appendix, journal)

  3. "From Cell Phones to Conflict? Reflections on the Emerging ICT-Political Conflict Research Agenda." (2015). Journal of Peace Research. 52(3): 401-413. Allan Dafoe & Jason Lyall. (pdf) (journal-ungated) (Monkey Cage)

  4. "To Have and to Hold: Exploring the Personal Archive." (2006). Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: 275-284. Kaye, Joseph 'Jofish', Janet Vertesi, Shari Avery, Allan Dafoe, Shay David, Lisa Onaga, Ivan Rosero, Trevor Pinch (pdf)