I am an assistant professor in the political science department at the University of Rochester and am spending the 2019-2020 academic year on sabbatical at the Harris School of Public Policy (University of Chicago). My research focuses on the strategies that political rulers pursue to survive in power and their consequences, mostly in non-democratic settings. Using game theoretic models as well as empirical analysis of historical and contemporary data, I study how rulers’ tradeoffs affect macro-political outcomes—civil war, regime stability and transitions, and state-building—in various substantive settings. Specific topics that I address in recent publications and ongoing research projects include: the onset and evolution of elections under colonialism; how dictators strategically share power and repress; and how each of oil wealth and pre-colonial states affect prospects for contemporary civil wars, with a particular focus on distinguish center-seeking and separatist civil wars. Recent publications appear in
Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Politics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, and World Politics.
I teach courses on applied game theory (graduate), authoritarian politics (undergraduate and graduate), and research methods for honors students (undergraduate). I completed my Ph.D. in political science and Master's degree in economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and received a B.A. with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia (reigning national champs in men's basketball). Outside of research, I enjoy watching sports even though my teams usually lose (the joys of Mets fandom) and spending as much time as I can outside when "winter is coming" as opposed to already here.