Countries vary greatly in the structure of their political institutions and the incidence of armed conflict. My research seeks to understand strategic and historical contributors to these outcomes. One research project examines general problems of authoritarian governance that stem from strategies of “carrots” (the power-sharing dilemma) and “sticks” (the guardianship dilemma). In a series of related articles, I develop game-theoretic models and empirical applications. I examine the commitment and threat-enhancing effects of power sharing and how these interact to shape authoritarian institutions and conflict. Another, more empirically focused research project, studies the colonial origins of modern political institutions. A book manuscript in progress examines the emergence of elections under colonial rule and the consequences for post-colonial democracy. Related articles examine the impact of precolonial states in Africa on civil wars, colonial borders, and the structure of Native Authority institutions. In other research projects, I study the conflict resource curse, democratic backsliding in the United States, and odds and ends in qualitative methods.
In 2022, I moved to the Department of Political Science at Emory University as an associate professor. Recent publications appear in the American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Politics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and World Politics. I teach courses on authoritarian politics, democratization, and applied game theory.