The Shadow of the Future and Bargaining Delay: An Experimental Approach. 2020. Journal of Politics 82(1): 378-383. [download]


Abstract: Can the shadow of the future undermine international cooperation? While Fearon (1998) proposes that long time horizons incentivize states to prolong costly negotiations,the results in the empirical literature testing this model have been mixed. Using a laboratory experiment, I estimate the causal effect of the shadow of the future on bargaining delay and examine its welfare consequences. In particular, I show that while parties do take longer to reach agreements when the shadow of the future is long, there are no significant efficiency losses compared to agreements made under shorter time horizons. These findings suggest an important caveat to policy recommendations that call for the use of finite duration provisions to shorten international negotiations. These provisions are unlikely to resolve the underlying inefficiency of the bargaining period and may inadvertently decrease states’ welfare by shrinking the potential gains from cooperation.

What Pivot? International Relations Scholarship and the Rise of China. With Benjamin Kenzer and Susan Peterson. 2015. International Studies Perspectives 16(3): 286-301. [download]

Abstract: Scholars of international relations (IR) simultaneously believe that their work is policy-relevant and that a gap exists between the academic and policy worlds of IR. Using data from the 2011 Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) survey and the TRIP journal article database, we explore this disjuncture in one specific area, research on East Asia. If US scholars' work addresses policy-relevant issues, as they believe, we would expect academic work to provide insights on a region that US policy makers have long thought to be growing in strategic importance. We find that academics recognize the strategic significance of East Asia, but comparatively few scholars teach about or do research on the region. Compared with the IR discipline more broadly, published research on East Asia is more paradigmatic, qualitative, and oriented toward the study of international political economy. The neglect of East Asia and the systematic differences in the way it is studied have potentially important consequences for the study and practice of IR.

Working Papers

Ideology and International Conflict. [download] (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: Do ideological ties affect international conflict, and if so, why? Existing research has produced little consensus on this question, but these investigations pool together different types of disputes states can have. I argue that ideological similarity specifically reduces the likelihood of regime-related disputes. First, states that share common legitimating principles are not threatened by the possibility that a leader has ideologically revisionist preferences. Second, concerns about political contagion motivate states that share an ideology to prop each other up against domestic threats and to refrain from using subversion to pursue their other foreign policy interests. Using a variety of conflict data sets, I show that pairs of countries that legitimate their rule according to similar principles are less likely to intervene in civil conflicts against one another, less likely to experience policy/regime disputes, and are more cooperative than pairs of ideologically-dissimilar states. Overall, these findings suggest that regime disputes are not simply the product of other foreign policy rivalries, but a source of international conflict in their own right.

Antislavery and the Isolation of Haiti, 1804-1862. [download]

Abstract: A growing body of research suggests that ideological cleavages matter for understanding patterns of international conflict. However, we still lack evidence that the observed relationship is causal and of the mechanisms responsible for these patterns. To address these gaps, I develop a qualitative case design based on a difference-in-differences approach to study British and U.S. reactions to Haitian independence. Before Great Britain outlawed slavery in its colonies, both it and the United States refused to recognize Haiti diplomatically and indicated opposition to a government born of slave rebellion. Yet, after outlawing slavery, British and U.S. foreign policy quickly diverged. Britain ended its regime dispute with Haiti, while the United States continued its politics of isolation until the 1860s. Because these states' material interests did not change at the same time in a way that can account for the observed policy divergence, this case strong suggests that the threat Haiti posed to British and U.S. reliance on slavery was the primary source of their disputes with the Haitian regime. Overall, this research both advances our understanding of the effects of ideological differences and introduces a new case design to improve researchers' ability to assess causality qualitatively.

Rethinking Electoral Interventions. [download]

Abstract: Why do states intervene in some foreign elections but not others? Existing research suggests that the decision to intervene depends crucially on two features: first, that the intervention could swing the outcome of the election and second, that competing candidates have significant, divergent foreign policy preferences. Using the PEIG data set of U.S. and Russian electoral interventions between 1945 and 2000, this paper examines the extent to which electoral interventions were motivated by these factors. My analysis supports a surprising answer: not much. Not only do electoral interventions frequently occur in contests where the intervention could not plausibly have been pivotal, failed incumbent-side interventions and successful challenger-side interventions do not produce any significant shifts in the foreign policy disposition of targeted states as measured by UNGA roll call votes. These results challenge our existing models of foreign intervention and underscore the need to theorize more about the causes of foreign meddling in the domestic politics of other states.

Measuring Rhetoric in Thucydides’ Speeches. [download]

Abstract: To assess the potential utility of automated text methods in studies of political thought, this article revisits major topics in the scholarly literature on Thucydides' speeches: the distinction between speech & narrative text, the contrast between speeches given to Athenian versus Spartan audiences, and how the rhetorical styles of Pericles & Nicias differ. My analysis yields three insights. First, the language Thucydides uses in the speeches differs dramatically from the narrative text, and there is significant variation in the type of language used in the speeches themselves. Second, when speaking to different audiences, orators would tailor their speeches to reflect their audiences' underlying values. For Athenian audiences, emphasizing prospects for glory and other materials gains tended to be a successful rhetorical strategy. Focusing on the consequences of inaction resonated more with Spartan audiences. Finally, Pericles was not only more resolute than Nicias in his speeches, but he was also able to invoke a proto-nationalism to persuade the public to prioritize common interests over private ones. These results largely replicate the scholarly consensus about the speeches in Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and in doing so, they demonstrate the promise of automated text analysis for the study of rhetoric in classical philosophical texts.


The Color Revolutions, Agenda Setting Bias, and Russian Propaganda. (Draft available upon request)

Abstract: This paper employs automated text methods to document whether and how ITAR-TASS—one of Russia’s leading state-owned news agencies—changed its coverage of Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan in response to the pro-democratic Color Revolutions in these countries. To identify bias in agenda setting, I benchmark changes in topic prevalence in ITAR-TASS's coverage of these countries against changes in coverage by Russia's leading independent news agency, Interfax. The analysis reveals that ITAR-TASS altered the amount of coverage it dedicated to different topics after a country experienced a Color Revolution, but the topics that ITAR-TASS emphasized or de-emphasized relative to Interfax varies across cases. For Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, ITAR-TASS increased its coverage of protests and opposition parties relative to coverage in Interfax. However, in Georgia, its coverage of protests decreased. The government-owned agency instead increased its coverage of the military and Georgia's separatist regions. Additional qualitative evidence suggests that the Russian government sought to highlight opposition to and criticisms of newly-elected regimes in order to make the Color Revolutions less desirable for audiences to replicate. 

Contagions Conflicts and Militant Mobilization.  With Iris Malone. 
(Draft available upon request)

Abstract: Do civil wars in neighboring countries increase the risk of civil conflict at home? Despite some evidence of contagion effects from the Arab Spring and the Color Revolutions, scholars still disagree over how and even whether militant violence spreads. We argue this debate exists, in part, because of a lack of fine-grained data about lower-level militant campaigns, which had the potential to escalate into civil wars. We argue that contagion effects increase the likelihood that armed groups mobilize to challenge the state, but state reactions minimize the escalation of these conflicts. The paper derives a series of observable predictions about under what conditions contagion effects are most likely to emerge and test these hypotheses on an unprecedented, cross-national data set of approximately 1,200 militant campaigns between 1970-2012. 

Differences in Aggregate Welfare and Relative Efficiency Across Treatment Groups