Daly completed her PhD in Political Science at MIT where she was awarded the Lucian Pye Award for the Best Dissertation in Political Science, and she holds a MSc (Distinction) in Development Studies from London School of Economics and BA (Honors, Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa) in International Relations from Stanford University. She has been a visiting associate research scholar in Latin American Studies at Princeton University, a post-doctoral fellow in Political Science and at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, and a pre-doctoral fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at Columbia, she was Assistant Professor of Political Science and Faculty Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Kroc Institute for International Peace at the University of Notre Dame.

Her book, ‘Organized Violence after Civil War: The Geography of Recruitment in Latin America,’ was published by Cambridge University Press in its Comparative Politics series in 2016. The book explores why some violent organizations choose to demilitarize following peace negotiations, whereas others choose to remilitarize and resume violence instead. It argues that the primary driving force behind a return to organized violence is the variation in recruitment patterns within, and between, the warring groups. The book was Honorable Mention for the Conflict Research Society’s 2017 Best Book of the Year Prize.

Daly’s articles on sub-national variation in insurgency onset and war recurrence, organized crime, state strategies towards ethnic minorities in the former Soviet Union, and emotions during transitional justice have appeared or are forthcoming in British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Political Analysis, Journal of Peace Research, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Conflict, Security & Development, and in several edited volumes. Her Journal of Peace Research article was Honorable Mention for the Nils Petter Gleditsch JPR Article of the Year Award. She is currently working on a second book on why citizens vote for political actors that used violence against the civilian population, for which she was awarded the Minerva-United States Institute of Peace, Peace and Security Early Career Scholar Award and was named a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

Daly’s research has been funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, National Science Foundation, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Fulbright Program, United States Institute of Peace, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Minerva Initiative. She is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is an affiliate of Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation.


Organized Violence After Civil War: The Geography of Recruitment in Latin America (New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Book Chapters

“The Logic and Consequences of State Strategies Toward Violent Non-State Actors,” in The Jackals of Westphalia? Non-State Challenges in a Re-Ordered World, eds. Stefano Ruzzo, Charles C. Geisler, and Anja P. Jakobi (New York: Routledge, 2016).
“Reintegration of Ex-Combatants” in Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice 1, eds. Lavinia Stan and Nadya Nedelsky (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Sarah Daly and Roger Petersen, “Anger, Violence, and Political Science,” in International Handbook of Anger: Constituent and Concomitant Biological, Psychological, and Social Processes, eds. M. Potegal, G. Stemmler, and C. Spielberger (New York: Springer, 2010).
Roger Petersen and Sarah Daly, “Revenge or Reconciliation: Theory and Method of Emotions in the Context of Colombia’s Peace Process,” in Forum for International Justice and Conflict: Law in Peace Negotiations 2, eds. M. Bergsmo and P. Kalmanovitz (Oslo: Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, 2010).

Journal Articles

“Determinants of ex-combatants’ attitudes toward transitional justice in Colombia,” Conflict Management and Peace Science (2018).
Review of Trust and Fear in Civil Wars: Ending Intrastate Conflicts, by Shanna Kirschner, Perspectives on Politics 14, no. 2 (2016).
Sarah Daly, Laura Paler, and Cyrus Samii, “Retrospective Causal Inference with Machine Learning Ensembles: An Application to Anti-Recidivism Policies in Colombia,” Political Analysis 24, no. 4 (2016).
“The Dark Side of Power-Sharing: Middle Managers and Civil War Recurrence,” Comparative Politics 46, no. 3 (2014).
“Organizational Legacies of Violence: Conditions Favoring Insurgency in Colombia, 1964-1984,” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 3 (2012).
“The Roots of Coercion and Insurgency: Exploiting the Counterfactual Case,” Conflict, Security & Development 11, no. 2 (2011).
“State Strategies in Multiethnic Territories: Explaining Variation in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc,” British Journal of Political Science 42, no. 3 (2014).

Other Articles

“FARC Rebels’ Political Party Performs Poorly in First Post-War Election,” Political Violence @ A Glance (2018).
“7,000 FARC Rebels are Demobilizing in Colombia. But Where do They Go Next?,” Monkey Cage, The Washington Post (2018).
Sarah Daly, with Laura Paler, and Cyrus Samii, “How can Colombia Stop Former FARC Rebels from Turning to Crime?” The Washington Post, Monkey Cage (blog) (2018).
“Will Peace with the FARC End Violence in Colombia?” Huffington Post (2016).
Sarah Daly, with Laura Paler, and Cyrus Samii, “Retorno a la Legalidad o Reincidencia de Excombatientes en Colombia: Dimensión del Fenómeno y Factores de Riesgo,” Informes Fundación Ideas para la Paz (2014).
Sarah Daly and Paola Gonzalez “La Reincidencia: Una Mirada Desde la Cárcel,” Organization of American States (2008).