Emiel Awad

Welcome! I am a quantitative social scientist who studies political economy. I was an Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University's Department of Politics from September 2022 to August 2023. I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science from September 2019 to August 2022. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Rochester in 2019. I also hold bachelor's and master's degrees from Leiden University and Erasmus University Rotterdam in Political Science and Economics and Business Economics.

I have done research on the following topics: 

I primarily used game theoretical models to analyze strategic interactions related to political organizations. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or feedback.

CV (pdf) (December 2023)

Contact: emielawad(at)gmail(dot)com

Google Scholar: Emiel Awad

Twitter/X: @EmielAwad

LinkedIn: EmielAwad


Academic Publications

Understanding Influence in Informational Lobbying
Interest Groups & Advocacy, forthcoming [Pre-print]

What can interest group scholars, practitioners, and policymakers learn about the concept of influence from formal theories of informational lobbying? This article has two objectives. The first is to help clarify the fundamental components of informational lobbying models and to show where they differ from other lobbying mechanisms. To illustrate informational lobbying and influence attempts, I provide examples from a sample of 91 emails sent by interest groups to the permanent Dutch representative in the European Union. The second objective is to list common determinants of interest groups influence in informational lobbying models and illustrate when and why they are especially salient. This paper summarizes how the nature of communication and preferences shape interest group influence. 

International Cooperation, Information Transmission, and Delegation (with Nicolas Riquelme)
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 19: 1-26 (2024), forthcoming

Do international organizations (IOs) help states to solve coordination problems over policy choices? We analyze a formal model of coordinated adaptation in which states use costly signals to transmit information about their preferences. We show that states only delegate to IOs if states are sufficiently aligned and face little uncertainty about each other’s preferences. Although states gain from delegation by achieving more policy coordination, they also incur more costs because of inefficient signaling. States misrepresent their preferences to ensure policies are coordinated on their own preferred outcome, and delegation to IOs makes states want to misrepresent their preferences more strongly. This effect can be so strong that the gains from international coordination are insufficient to warrant delegation to IOs. We discuss the robustness of our results to different types of IOs and provide implications for the design of institutions.

Friendly Lobbying under Time Pressure (with Clement Minaudier)
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming | Summary at AJPS's Blog

Lobbyists often target legislators who are aligned with them rather than opponents. The choice of whom to lobby affects both what information becomes available to legislators and how much influence special interest groups exert on policies. However, the conditions under which aligned legislators are targeted are not well understood. We investigate how the pressure to conclude policies quickly affects the strategic decision of whom to lobby. We derive conditions on the cost of delaying policies and on the distribution of legislators' preferences for lobbyists to prefer targeting allies. We show that the use of allied intermediaries has important implications for the duration of policymaking and the quality of policies. Counterintuitively, an increase in time pressure can increase the duration of policymaking and a longer duration does not always lead to better informed policies. 

Persuasive Lobbying with Allied Legislators
American Journal of Political Science, 64(4): 938-951 (2020) | Summary at AJPS's Blog

Why do interest groups lobby allied legislators if they already agree? One possibility is that allies are intermediaries who help persuade unconvinced legislators. To study the role and value of intermediaries, I develop a formal model of persuasive lobbying where interest groups use public cheap talk and provide verifiable information to a strategically selected coalition of legislators. Interest groups face a trade-off: Lobbying aligned legislators is advantageous as they are more willing to endorse the group's preferred policy, but those who are too aligned cannot persuade a majority of their peers. The model illustrates how intermediaries are especially valuable if interest groups cannot persuade a majority themselves. Counter to previous work, the results demonstrate how a legislature's ideological composition determines the use of intermediaries. Groups may lobby intermediaries even if access to legislators is free and unrestricted. 

Working Papers

Designing Political Order (with Scott Abramson and Brenton Kenkel) - Revise and resubmit at World Politics

Social scientists and political philosophers widely believe that the foundations of political order rest upon the existence of a sovereign agent endowed with a monopoly of coercive force. In this paper, we develop a formal model of anarchic competition and show that whenever it is possible to construct a peaceful political order based upon a monopoly of force, it is also possible to construct one where multiple agents maintain coercive abilities. What is more, we show that peaceful orders with multiple violence specialists generally require lower coercive investments than peaceful orders with a single violence specialist. This undercuts the notion that monopolistic domestic politics are inherently more efficient than the competitive international system. Nevertheless, we identify why inefficient monopolies of violence might persist - any individual agent's payoff is maximized when she serves as a monopolist that invests more in coercion than is strictly necessary to maintain peace.

The inflow of special interest money into politics and its influence on policies is well-documented. Less well-understood is why different legislators attract different amounts of interest from these groups. We investigate how valuable private meetings with legislators are to special interest groups, as a function of the legislators' ideological preferences and their agenda-setting power. We study a model of informational lobbying with a collective decision-making body and endogenous reforms. We show that the value of private access to legislators not only depends on their ideological alignment with the interest group, but also on their ideological alignment with the legislature's median and the agenda setter. The value of access to a given legislator therefore depends not only on this legislator's characteristics, but on the overall distribution of preferences and bargaining power in the legislature. Finally, we show that an agenda setter derives additional value because targeting her helps the interest group commit not to share information publicly once a policy is proposed.

Should politicians be allowed to reveal whether policy outcomes were caused by government agencies or should they always take responsibility? To answer this question, we develop a model in which a reputation-concerned agency exerts effort over time and a politician can publicly communicate about who bears responsibility for successes and failures. Although politicians want to claim credit and deflect blame, this also indirectly affects the reputation of bureaucratic agencies and their willingness to exert effort. We show that politician's messages about transparency can be good to incentivize bureaucrats as a prospective effect, but may have negative implications down the line. In equilibrium, the politician's considerations for future effort and her own reputation constrain her. Our results have various implications for institutions and democratic norms related to transparency about responsibility for political failures and successes. Although transparency improves selection of better politicians, it may have negative implications for government agencies' incentives to work hard.