Reiter's research agenda is centered on understanding the effectiveness of policies that reduce violence. These include policies that aim to secure peace where violence is already occurring, as well as those intended to deter or prevent future violence.
Reiter's book manuscript project, Fighting Over Peace: Spoilers, Peace Agreements, and the Strategic Use of Violence, seeks to explain why some civil war peace agreements are implemented rather peacefully while others come under attack from a variety of violent actors. Furthermore, it asks why these attempts at "spoiling" peace prove successful following some agreements and not others. In examining the conditions under which spoilers arise, and their ultimate impact on peace processes, he uses an original dataset of spoiling following 241 civil war peace agreements in the post-Cold War era.
Reiter is also a co-founder of the Transitional Justice Data Base Project, which has developed a comprehensive, global dataset of trials, truth commissions, amnesties, reparations, and lustration programs used by states over the past four decades to engage past human rights violations. The project has received funding from a number of sources, including the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Smith Richardson Foundation. The project has produced a co-authored book (with Tricia Olsen and Leigh Payne), titled Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy (United States Institute of Peace Press, 2010), as well as numerous articles and book chapters in such venues as Human Rights Quarterly, International Studies Review, and Journal of Peace Research.
In a third project (with Brett Kyle), Reiter examines the use of military courts in Latin America to shield armed forces personnel from accountability for human rights abuses in the region. Their first article in this research agenda was recently published in Armed Forces & Society. They find that variation in the power of military courts vis-à-vis the civilian judiciary is explained by the institutional autonomy of the military and the strength of specific types of civilian reformers. Their second article, published in Law & Society Review, investigates the process by which military courts have been reformed in 13 countries in the region.
At Mount Holyoke, Reiter regularly teaches World Politics, Transitional Justice, Political Violence, International Law and Organization, Comparative Politics, and Latin American Politics.
- "Are dictators' days ending?" Office of Communications and Marketing, November 6, 2014
- "Are We Finally Ousting the World's Last Dictators? Sadly, No," Guest Post, The Duck of Minerva, November 3, 2014
- "Some Good News for Iraq," U.S News & World Report, August 15, 2014
- "Japan, South Korea Rift and Obama's Role in Diplomacy," HuffPost, April 16, 2014
- "ICC Victory over Immunity in Recent Clash with al-Bashir," Guest Post, The Duck of Minerva, October 3, 2013
- "External Actors and Transitional Justice in a Reunified Korea," Conference on Transitional Justice in Post-Unification Korea: Peacebuilding and Reconciliation," The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Washington D.C., May 25, 2013
- "'Zero Dark Thirty' and Other War Movies," Op-Ed, Providence Journal, February 7, 2013
- "The American Presidential Election: Decisive Battles in Swing States," Caixin Online, October 30, 2012 [in Chinese]
- "Students Address Foreign Policies Missed in Final Presidential Debate," USA Today College, October 23, 2012
- "Reiter on U.S. Foreign Policy, Civil Unrest," Mount Holyoke College Office of Communications, September 28, 2012
- "Reiter Speaks on Obama's Foreign Policy Strategies in the Pacific Rim," FirstPost.com, September 21, 2012
- "Big Questions in Agent Orange Clean Up," Op-Ed, Providence Journal, September 16, 2012
- "Assad Faces Exile or Fight to Finish," Op-Ed, Providence Journal, March 11, 2012
- "Yemen Loses A Dictator, But Not His Shadow," Op-Ed, Christian Science Monitor, February 23, 2012
- "Failed Transitional Justice in Egypt," Op-Ed, International Policy Digest, October 16, 2011
- "Will Mubarak Be Prosecuted?" Hufﬁngton Post, February 12, 2011