Abstracts

2006. Decentralization: Fueling the Fire or Dampening the Flames of Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism, International Organization, (July): 651-685..

Political decentralization is one of the most commonly used mechanisms to reduce ethnic conflict in the world today. Yet, decentralization is more successful in reducing ethnic conflict in some countries than in others. In this paper, I explore why this occurs. I demonstrate using a statistical analysis of thirty democracies from 1985 to 2000 that decentralization decreases ethnic conflict directly by giving groups control over their own political, social and economic affairs, but that it increases ethnic conflict indirectly by encouraging the growth of regional parties. Regional parties increase ethnic conflict by reinforcing ethnic and regional identities, producing legislation that favors certain groups over others, and mobilizing groups to engage in ethnic conflict.

2007. Political Aftershocks: The Impact of Earthquakes on Intra-state Conflict, Journal of Conflict Resolution 51 (5): 715-743.

Although many scholars, policy makers, and relief organizations suggest that natural disasters bring groups together and dampen conflicts, earthquakes can actually stimulate intrastate conflict by producing scarcities in basic resources, particularly in developing countries where the competition for scarce resources is most intense. Capitalizing on a natural experiment design, this study examines the impact of earthquakes on intrastate conflict through a statistical analysis of 185 countries over the period from 1975 to 2002. The analysis indicates that earthquakes not only increase the likelihood of conflict, but that their effects are greater for higher magnitude earthquakes striking more densely populated areas of countries with lower gross domestic products as well as preexisting conflicts. These results suggest that disaster recovery efforts must pay greater attention to the conflict-producing potential of earthquakes and undertake certain measures, including strengthening security procedures, to prevent this outcome from occurring.

2008. Origins and Strengths of Regional Parties, British Journal of Political Science, 38 (1): 135-159.

In this paper I investigate the origins of regional parties. Traditional explanations of regional parties as products of regionally-based social cleavages cannot fully account for variations in regional party strength both within and across countries. This unexplained variance can be explained, however, by looking at different institutions and one institution in particular, political decentralization. I test my argument using a statistical analysis of thirty-sevedemocracies around the world from 1945 to 2002, which shows that political decentralization increases the strength of regional parties in national legislatures, independent of the strength of regional cleavages, as well as different features of a country’s political system, such as fiscal decentralization, electoral proportionality, presidentialism, cross-regional voting laws, and the sequencing of executive and legislative elections.

2008. Winning Alone: The Electoral Fate of Independent Candidates Worldwide,  Journal of Politics 70 (3): 648–662.

Independent candidates are widely believed to influence the quality of representation through issues as fundamental to democracy as government accountability, responsiveness, and electoral turnout. Their impact, however, hinges on their electoral strength, which varies widely within and across countries. In order to explain this variation, this study examines which aspects of electoral systems affect independents the most and why. Based on a statistical analysis of 34 countries around the world between 1945 and 2003, this study finds that electoral systems influence the electoral strength of independent candidates by defining the opportunities for independents to compete for office (i.e., ballot access requirements), the degree to which politics is candidate centered versus partisan driven (i.e., majority/plurality rule, district magnitude, open-list PR, and democratic transitions), and the extent to which small vote getters win seats (i.e., district size and electoral thresholds). Accordingly, not only do independents influence the nature of representation, but so too do the ways in which electoral systems influence independent candidates.

2011. Rushing to the Polls: The Causes of Premature Post-Conflict Elections, with Jack L. Snyder,  Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50 (3): 469-492.

In the post-cold war period, civil wars are increasingly likely to end with peace settlements brokered by international actors who press for early elections. However, elections held soon after wars end, when political institutions remain weak, are associated with an increased likelihood of a return to violence. International actors have a double-edged influence over election timing and the risk of war, often promoting precarious military stalemates and early elections, but sometimes also working to prevent a return to war through peacekeeping, institution-building, and powersharing. In this paper, we develop and test quantitatively a model of the causes of early
elections as a building block in evaluating our larger argument about election timing and the return to war.

2013. Time to Kill: The Impact of Election Timing on Post-Conflict Stability, with Jack L. Snyder,  Journal of Conflict Resolution, 57(5): 822-850

Elections constitute a fundamental element of post-conflict peacebuilding efforts in the post-Cold War era and are often held soon after conflicts end. Yet, the impact of early elections on post-conflict stability is the subject of sharp debate. While some argue that early elections facilitate peace agreements, hasten democratization, and ensure post-conflict stability, others suggest that they undermine genuine democracy and spark a renewal in fighting. In this study, we argue that holding elections soon after a civil war ends generally increases the likelihood of renewed fighting, but that favorable conditions, such as demobilization, peacekeeping, powersharing, and strong political, administrative and judicial institutions, can mitigate this risk. We attempt to reconcile the extant qualitative debate on post-conflict elections through a quantitative analysis of all civil wars ending in the post-World War II period.

2014.  Democratic Authoritarianism: Origins and Effects, Annual Review of Political Science 17: TBD.

This review essay examines the burgeoning literature on democratic authoritarianism, which examines two related, but distinct questions about why authoritarian regimes adopt institutions conventionally associated with democracy, and how these institutions ironically strengthen authoritarian regimes and forestall democratization.  The literature suggests that authoritarian regimes adopt and utilize nominally democratic institutions to strengthen regimes in five main ways: signaling, information acquisition, patronage distribution, monitoring, and credible commitment.  I evaluate each of these mechanisms in this review essay, as well as the empirical challenges facing this research agenda in general, and offer several suggestions for how the field should proceed to overcome these challenges.

The Determinants of US Public Opinion toward Democracy Promotion, Political Behavior, TBD.

In this paper, I evaluate two competing perspectives as to what underlies the public's support for democracy promotion -- a democratic values-based perspective positing that the public's support for democracy promotion is based on a principled desire to spread American values, beliefs, and ideologies to other countries, and a national interests-based perspective claiming that it is based on a rational desire of Americans to advance the US' political and economic interests abroad.  Using a survey experiment, I find that, in general, Americans are not driven by either democratic values or national interests to support democracy promotion even though they believe that democracy promotion is in the interests of both the recipient country and the United States. Only a subset of the population is motivated to support democracy promotion for the sake of democratic values.  This subset of the population is driven by cosmopolitanism, not national pride.

Building Confidence in Elections: The Case of Electoral Monitors in Kosova,  Journal of Experimental Political Science,  1 (Spring): TBD.

While most research on electoral monitors has focused on the effect of electoral monitors on politicians and their behavior in terms of committing electoral fraud, this study examines the effect of electoral monitors on citizens, and their effect in particular on people's perceptions of electoral integrity and behavior in terms of turnout at the polls. To examine this relationship, I conducted a field experiment around the 2009/10 municipal elections in Kosova, which varied the amount of information people had about the responsibilities of monitors in these elections. In the experiment, people who had more information about the monitors' responsibilities believed that the elections were more free and fair than those who had less information, and also believed that the monitors helped make these elections more free and fair, even though they were not more likely to vote as a result.

Another Great Illusion:The Advancement of Separatism through Economic IntegrationPolitical Science Research and Methods, TBD.

Economic integration is widely argued to increase subnational demands for independence. Yet, increasingly high degrees of integration have not been associated with a commensurate explosion of separatist activity. Integration, I argue, should not promote separatism because states retain important political and economic powers even in the face of major integration, and because separatist movements intrinsically support strong states, albeit not the ones from which they are seeking independence. Empirically, I test this argument through the case of post-WWII European integration, a hard test of my argument, since the European Union (EU) is the most advanced economic integration scheme in the world today. The quantitative analysis supports this argument showing that EU integration is weakly associated with a minor increase in separatist party activity in only two countries, Belgium and the United Kingdom. Further qualitative analysis suggests that even in these two countries the increase in separatist activity is not due to integration.

Pocketbook Protests: Explaining the Worldwide Emergence of Pro-democracy Protests, Comparative Political Studies 48(3): TBD.

Why do pro-democracy protests emerge in some countries at certain periods of time and not others? Pro-democracy protests, I argue, are more likely to arise when the economy is not performing well and people blame the autocratic nature of their regime for the economy, than when the economy is performing well, or when people do not blame the nature of their regime for the poor state of the economy.   People are more likely to associate the economy with the nature of their regime, I further argue, in election periods, particularly when people are unable to remove the incumbent government from power through elections.  My argument is supported by a statistical analysis of pro-democracy protests in 158 countries between 2006-2011, showing that not only is the economy an important factor explaining the emergence of pro-democracy protests, but that other factors commonly thought to affect these protests, including technologies like cell phones and the Internet, are not.

Democracy from Below: The Impact of Pro-Democracy Protests on Regime Transitions

The impact of pro-democracy protests on democratic transitions is highly debated with both sides to this heretofore qualitative debate presenting different examples of transitions to support their arguments. Civil-society based arguments claim that pro- democracy protests compel countries to democratize – the larger, the better. Elite- based arguments, in contrast, suggest that pro-democracy protests are unlikely to yield democratic transitions, and that large, radical, and violent protests are more likely to provoke backlashes against democracy than small, moderate, and peaceful protests. Utilizing an original dataset on pro-democracy protests, this paper analyzes quantita- tively the effect of pro-democracy protests on democratization in 165 countries between 2005-2011. The analysis indicates that pro-democracy protests are not significantly as- sociated with regime transitions, but are significantly associated with smaller increases in democracy. The analysis further finds that civic-society based theories predict these smaller changes in democracy better than elite-based arguments with larger protests being more likely to lead to these changes than smaller ones.