Research

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Ethnic Inequality and the Strength of Ethnic Identification in Sub-Saharan Africa,” with Masaaki Higashijima. Conditional Acceptance. Political Behavior.

Social Mobility and Political Instability,Forthcoming.  Journal of Conflict Resolution.

A Two-Step Theory and Test of the Oil Curse: The Conditional Effect of Oil on Democratization,Forthcoming. Democratization.

The Political and Economic Consequences of Populist Rule in Latin America,” with Paul Kenny. Forthcoming. Government and Opposition.

“ Ethnic Inequality and Coups in Sub-Saharan Africa,” with Cristina Bodea. 2017. Journal of Peace Research. 54(3): 382-396.

Do Civil Wars, Coups and Riots Have the Same Structural Determinants?” with Cristina Bodea and Ibrahim Elbadawi. 2017. International Interactions. 43(3): 537-561.

“ Inequality, Ethnic Diversity, and Redistribution,” 2017 Journal of Economic Inequality. 15(1):1-23.

Diffusion or Confusion? Clustered Shocks and the Conditional Diffusion of Democracy,” with Mark Andreas Kayser and Jun Xiang. 2016. International Organization. 70(4): 687-726.

Why Class Inequality Breeds Coups but Not Civil Wars,” 2016. Journal of Peace Research. 53(5): 680-695.

Inequality, Economic Development, and Democratization,” 2016. Studies in Comparative International Development. 51(4):503-529.

Ethnic Inequality and the Dismantling of Democracy: A Global Analysis,” 2015. World Politics. 67(3): 469-505.

Editor-Reviewed Publications

“Does Inequality Harm Economic Development and Democracy? Accounting for Missing Values, Non-Comparable Observations and Endogeneity.” Forthcoming. In “Oxford Handbook of Politics of Development,” eds. Lancaster, Carol, and Nicolas van de Walle. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [First View ]

“Inequality, Democratization and Democratic Consolidation,” 2013. APSA-Comparative Democratization Newsletter. 11(3): 21-24.

Under Review

“ Does Ethnic Inequality Promote Ethnic Voting?” (with Paul Kenny and Chunho Park) [Revise & Resubmit at Journal of Politics]

Abstract: Does ethnic inequality promote ethnic voting? This paper argues that inequality between ethnic groups increases ethnic voting but only when within group inequality is low. Between-group inequality (BGI) increases ethnic voting by creating clear demarcations between members of different ethnic groups. The effect of BGI, however, weakens as within-group inequality (WGI) increases because the latter reduces groups’ cohesion. We test this relationship statistically using group-level data on over 200 ethnic groups from 65 countries. We find strong support for our hypothesis: among ethnic groups with low WGI, BGI increases ethnic voting; but among those with high WGI, BGI has no discernible effect.

Social Mobility and Democratic Attitudes: Evidence from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa(with Michael Miller) [Under Review]

Abstract: How does personal experience of intergenerational social mobility affect support for democracy? Does the relationship depend on the regime under which individuals experience mobility? While a large literature examines how wealth and economic inequality influence attitudes toward democracy and regime change, there has been little work on the effect of social mobility. We employ individual-level survey data from the Afrobarometer and Latinobarometer from 2000-13 to analyze how experiencing change in one’s socioeconomic position from childhood influences support for democracy. We find that individuals that experience upward mobility are more pro-democratic, even controlling for their education, current economic situation, and country-level growth. Further, the effect is stronger for individuals that lived most of their adult lives within democracy. We also show that the effect does not run through preferences for redistribution. Rather, it’s more closely related to fundamental changes in attitudes toward personal autonomy, social functioning, and the role of government.

“ Does Ethnic Voting Reduce the Quality of Democracy?” [Under Review]

Abstract: A large literature argues that ethnic voting reduces the quality of democracy. Ethnic voting may harm democracy through at least three related mechanisms: (1) it reduces the ex-ante uncertainty associated with elections, which decreases the incentives of electoral losers to support the regimes and increases those of the winners to further exclude them; (2) it increases the winner-take-all character of elections, hence further decreasing the incentives of losers to recognize defeat; and (3) it may lead to a process of ethnic outbidding through which political entrepreneurs of the same ethnic groups compete by adopting increasingly extreme positions. However, few studies have tested the effect of ethnic voting on democracy using large-N quantitative analysis. Most previous tests instead look at whether ethnic fractionalization hinders democracy. In this paper, I estimate the effect of ethnic voting on changes in the quality of democracy in a sample covering up to 58 democracies worldwide between 1992 and 2015. I find that ethnic voting is detrimental to democratic consolidation. These findings imply that, although the mere presence of different ethnic groups does not necessarily harm democracy, the politicization of ethnicity is detrimental to democracy.

“ Inequality and Social Mobility: An Empirical Evaluation of the Great Gastby Curve” [Under Review]

A recent literature finds that economic inequality reduces social mobility. Countries with high levels of inequality tend to have lower levels of mobility 20 years or so later. This relationship has been dubbed the Great Gastby Curve (GGC). Yet existing empirical tests of the GGC rely on datasets capturing a maximum of about 25 countries, most of which are from the advanced industrialized world. This paper evaluates the effect of economic inequality on social mobility using data on 97 countries worldwide. The indicator of social mobility is constructed using survey data from the International Social Survey Programme, the Afrobarometer, the Latinobarometer, and the Demographic and Health Surveys. I find that inequality does lower mobility, which suggests that the GGC applies to countries beyond those covered by previous tests. Understanding the causes of social mobility is important both on its own right and because of its potential political implications, for example, for democracy, political instability and voting behavior. Survey evidence suggests that most individuals perceive the lack of mobility has more unfair than inequality. This paper shows that these two concepts are actually closely associated empirically.

 

Working Papers and Work in Progress

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