• “Do Peers Respond? Attendance and Critical Events,” published at British Politics.
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    Abstract What motivates Peers to attend legislative sittings? Sitting attendance is a symbolic way for legislators to show citizens that they are being productive and hence is often explained by electoral motivations that Peers lack. I argue that Peers make decisions to attend sittings when critical events threaten their position in the legislature. Attending at these times --- namely after scandals and House of Lords reform debates --- is an attempt to counteract negative impressions about the House and its members. Other critical events that may impact elected legislators such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters should have no impact on Peers attendance. Using a newly compiled dataset on attendance and critical events, I show that Peers respond by increasing attendance only after House of Lords reform debates in either House; attendance after scandals, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks is unchanged. This suggests that Peers are responsive in only the most urgent cases: when they are in the spotlight and the future of the House is on the line. More broadly, I offer the first empirical investigation of symbolic responsiveness among unelected legislators and show that there are some situations where said legislators feel the need to respond.

  • “Technology and Collective Action Event Size: Lessons for India,” forthcoming at Studies in Indian Politics.
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    Abstract Events are a form of geographically and temporally focused collective action aimed at making broad social or political claims. Event attendance matters for how much impact the event has, but estimating the number of event attendees is quite difficult. Political scientists have recently developed methods for detecting event size using social media data from technology-based sources. These methods have been used to estimate event size in some contexts, but the Indian case presents special challenges that make using technology-based data to estimate event size particularly difficult. Drawing on fieldwork during the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi, I find that strategic choices on behalf of both protesters and the government made estimating event size using technological data quite challenging. I then discuss some ways that event size measurement techniques can be adapted for the Indian context.

  • “Western Political Rhetoric and Radicalization” (with Margit Tavits and Deniz Aksoy), published at British Journal of Political Science.
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    Abstract Does anti-Muslim rhetoric by Western politicians breed radical attitudes among European Muslims? We explore this question by conducting an experimental study in Bosnia - a European democracy, where, unlike the rest of Europe, Muslims are neither immigrants nor socio-economically disadvantaged. This helps us clearly identify the radicalization potential of Western rhetoric alone, absent contextual factors such as social inferiority. Experimental evidence with Bosnian Muslims from five surveys (with a total N=2,608) suggests that rhetorical attacks on Islam by Western politicians do not strengthen individuals’ Muslim identity, cause higher levels of animosity toward the West, or lead to condoning the use of violence. We also find that pro-Muslim rhetoric, while increasing positive views of the West, does not affect individuals’ strength of Muslim identity or their radical sympathies. These results provide important implications for our understanding of sources of radicalization and for efforts to curb radical tendencies.

  • “Ethnic Diversity in Central Government Cabinets,” published at Politics, Groups, and Identities.
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    Abstract Why is there so much variation in the ethnic composition of cabinets? Previous work has focused on cabinet policy alignment, largely overlooking the role of identity-based characteristics like ethnicity. I theorize that country leaders make ethnic cabinet appointments to gain political support, both when country-level ethnic diversity is high and when ethnic groups rely on leader decisions in order to receive resources. Cabinet appointments offer leaders a way to distribute resources while creating a credible commitment to remove these resources if ethnic group support wanes. I introduce a new cross-national time-series dataset of cabinet minister names from 149 countries from 1967 to 2017. Using novel methods from computer science, I code the ethnicity of cabinet ministers’ names and construct a cabinet diversity index for each country-year. After validating this measure, I find support for my hypothesis. Country leaders in reliant societies increase ethnic cabinet appointments seven to twenty-five percent over leaders in non-reliant societies. The results provide the first large scale cross-national analysis of the strategic ways in which leaders use cabinet seats to manage the distribution of resources.

  • “Pick Your Language: How Riot Reporting Differs Between English and Hindi Newspapers in India,” 2019. Asian Journal of Communication 25(9): 405-423.
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    Abstract Riot reporting is one aspect of newspaper coverage that can drive people into the streets in acts of collective protest or violence. Media observers and scholars have proposed that the language of Indian newspapers, be it English or vernacular, partially dictates the kinds of riot events reported and the quality of those reports. I tested whether this conventional wisdom holds by investigating the content of Indian riot coverage in the English Times of India and Hindu Hindustan. While Hindustan emphasized official statements and interviews with political parties, neither newspaper accurately represented the actual number of riots in their reporting. In fact, coverage in both papers followed predictable patterns likely driven by a new focus on selling newspapers at any cost in order to increase advertising revenue. This study contributes to a growing literature highlighting the similarities between media outlets and the degree to which their reporting is removed from actual events.

  • “A Meta-Analysis of Natural Resources and Conflict,” 2019. Research and Politics 6(1): 1-6.
    Publisher Link (open access), Replication Files
    Abstract The relationship between natural resource wealth and civil conflict remains unclear, despite prolonged scholarly attention. Conducting a meta-analysis — a quantitative literature review — can help synthesize this broad and disparate field to provide clearer directions for future research. Meta-analysis tools determine both the aggregate effect of natural resources on conflict and whether any particular ways in which variables are measured systematically bias the estimated effect. I conduct a meta-analysis using sixty-nine studies from sixty-two authors. I find that there is no aggregate relationship between natural resources and conflict. Most variation in variable measurement does not alter the estimated effect. However, measuring natural resource wealth using Primary Commodity Exports and including controls for mountainous terrain and ethnic fractionalization all do significantly impact the results. These findings suggest that it may be worth exploring more nuanced connections between natural resources and conflict instead of continuing to study the overall relationship.

  • “Political Space in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes: Activating Pro Forma Platforms” (with Norman Schofield), accepted with Springer Verlag.
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    Abstract Competitive authoritarian regimes are those in which electoral competition is allowed, but elections are not free and fair. Dozens such regimes exist around the world, but their political space is unexplored. We hypothesize that voters in these regimes define political space in two dimensions, where these dimensions are different from those in developing democracies. Using World Values Survey data from Kyrgyzstan in two time periods, we show the development of voter preferences along two dimensions: fondness for tradition and trust of political institutions. We explore why parties faced with this political space do not run on these issues even though their party platforms nominally try to appeal to them. Finally, we argue that these findings extend to regimes of a similar type by mapping political space in Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Hungary. Providing incentives for parties to run on their stated platforms may help institutionalize political competition in competitive authoritarian regimes.

  • “Regional Autonomy in Rich Regions: Evidence from Adjara, Georgia,” 2018. Caucasus Survey 6(1): 18-41.
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    Abstract Previous models of individuals’ preferences for decentralization have focused on either economic or identity based motivations. In some cases, however, elites in rich regions with high inequality prefer decentralization contrary to their economic preferences. This paper proposes a model to explain these instances by focusing on the preferences of self-interested elites who manipulate a strong regional identity for personal gain. I develop the hypothesis that a strong regional economy, combined with a regional identity, provides the incentive for and the mechanism by which elites prefer decentralization. I test this hypothesis using the puzzling case of Adjara, Georgia, a rich region with high inequality and a strong regional identity where elites, contrary to expectations, pushed for decentralization. Results suggest that regional identities are used by elites in order to seize on a strong economy for personal gain. This motivates future study on the interaction between regional economies and identity.

  • “International Tourism’s Impact on Regional Autonomy: Evidence from 2004 EU Accession Countries,” 2017. Tourism Economics 23(8): 1632-1661.
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    Abstract The relationship between increased tourism and increasing regional autonomy is quite nuanced and understudied. This paper hypothesizes that only an increase in both regional air traffic and in international tourism will impact the level of regional autonomy. Using the period after ten countries were admitted to the European Union in 2004 as an example of a dramatic tourism increase, the paper finds that countries with increased tourism, but without regional airports, did not experience a sudden increase in their regional autonomy. In Poland, however, the large number of growing regional airports and increased tourism did provoke regions to argue with the central government for more regional autonomy. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how international interventions impact regional decentralization preferences.

  • “Did Natural Resource Wealth Motivate Fighting in the Bosnian War?” 2016. Journal of International Studies 9(1): 27-43.
    PDF, Replication Files
    Abstract The 1992 to 1995 Bosnian War was not a war begun over a conflict for natural resources. Instead, this study hypothesizes that the intensity of fighting during the War was positively influenced by the presence of high levels of natural resource wealth distributed throughout Bosnia. Drawing upon self-coded data for myriad measures of the intensity of fighting and natural resources in a given area of the country, we use multiple regression techniques as well as factor analysis to support the hypothesis and conclude that natural resource wealth was an important factor in influencing the course of the War. Natural resources both strategically deprived the opposing army from adequate land and water during the War and also ensured that high quality natural resource infrastructure and forest resources were available after the War ended. This research is unique in that it examines the importance of natural resources where fighting takes place.

 

Other Publications

  • “Research Articles, Not Research Papers: Empowering Students Through Research Writing,” accepted with Palgrave Macmillan.

  • “Graduate Student Peer Teaching Mentoring” (with Bryant Moy), accepted at The Political Science Educator. PDF

  • “Teaching Research, Writing, and Information Literacy” (with Julia Marin Hellwege), 2020. PS: Political Science and Politics 53(3): 588-590.
    Publisher Link, PDF

  • “Update in the Use of brt Mutant Tomato Plants for DDT Phytoremediation,” 2012. Report of the Tomato Genetics Cooperative 62: 23-24.
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  • “Phytoremediation Comparisons Between Solanum lysopersicum Wild-Type and brt Mutant Using Kelthane Miticide,” 2011. Report of the Tomato Genetics Cooperative 61: 5-11.
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