Gerrymandering Opposition: Minority-Concentrated Districts and Electoral Competition in Mexico. 2017. Studies In Comparative International Development 52:64-86. (with Brian Palmer-Rubin)
When Do Autocrats Share Power? A Theory of Regime Institutionalization and Leader Strength (under review)
Elite Cooptation and Opposition Fragmentation in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes (with Leonardo Arriola and Jed DeVaro)
Institutionalizing Dictatorship: Autocratic Constitutions and Presidential Cabinets (Book project)
This book aims to understand variation in autocratic regime institutionalization by examining autocratic constitutions and presidential cabinets. It addresses three central questions. Why do some autocratic leaders voluntarily place constraints on their own authority after coming into power? When do these institutions actually work and persist over time? What are the effects of regime institutionalization on leadership succession and regime stability? I argue that autocrats place limits on their own power when they are weak and most vulnerable to being deposed. Leaders who come into power lacking a strong basis of support must pursue the counter-intuitive strategy of committing to give power away in order to buy support from other elites. Such measures are most likely persist when they empower other elites and reduce the cost of collective action. In the long run, these self-interested actions generate stable power-sharing institutions and facilitate peaceful leadership succession, therefore setting the stage for durable authoritarian rule. This project employs a wide range of evidence, including an original dataset of 47 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from 1960-2010, formal theory, and case studies.
Other Works in Progress
Predicting Democratic Erosion