I'm an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, where I've taught since 2013. I was previously a faculty member at Australian National University and received my PhD in Politics from Princeton University in September 2011. I have broad research interests across comparative politics, formal and quantitative methodology, and political economy, with a focus on democratization and autocratic elections. In my 2021 book, Shock to the System: Coups, Elections, and War on the Road to Democratization, I argue that democratization typically stems from either violent elite shocks or elections that maintain a significant share of power for the ruling party.

I recently helped start a project called Authoritarian Warning Survey, which involves democracy scholars evaluating threats to American democracy through a survey and rapid reactions to current events. Follow us at our website and at @authwarning.


  • Shock to the System: Coups, Elections, and War on the Road to Democratization. 2021. Princeton University Press. Link, Amazon, Online Appendix

    • Reviewed in Governance, Democratization, and European Political Science

  • “Emigration and Political Contestation,” with Margaret E. Peters. 2022. International Studies Quarterly 66(1).

  • “Don't Call It a Comeback: Autocratic Ruling Parties after Democratization.” 2021. British Journal of Political Science 51(2): 559-83. PDF

  • “A Republic, If You Can Keep It: Breakdown and Erosion in Modern Democracies.” 2021. Journal of Politics 83(1): 198-213. PDF

  • “Restraining the Huddled Masses: Migration Policy and Autocratic Survival,” with Margaret E. Peters. 2020. British Journal of Political Science 50(2): 503-33. PDF

  • “The Autocratic Ruling Parties Dataset: Origins, Durability, and Death.” 2020. Journal of Conflict Resolution 64(4): 756-82. PDF

  • “The Strategic Origins of Electoral Authoritarianism.” 2020. British Journal of Political Science 50(1): 17-44. PDF

  • “Social Mobility and Democratic Attitudes: Evidence from Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa,” with Christian Houle. 2019. Comparative Political Studies 52(11): 1610-47. PDF

    • “Are Coups Really Contagious? An Extreme Bounds Analysis of Political Diffusion,” with Michael Joseph and Dorothy Ohl. 2018. Journal of Conflict Resolution 62(2): 410-41. PDF

  • “Safeguarding Democracy: Powersharing and Democratic Survival,” with Benjamin T. Graham and Kaare Strøm. 2017. American Political Science Review 111(4): 686-704. PDF

  • “Reanalysis: Are Coups Good for Democracy?” 2016. Research & Politics 3(4) December. PDF

  • Democracy by Example? Why Democracy Spreads When the World's Democracies Prosper.” 2016. Comparative Politics 49(1): 83-116. PDF

  • “Electoral Authoritarianism and Human Development.” 2015. Comparative Political Studies 48(12): 1526-62. PDF

    • Won James Caporaso Award for best article published in CPS in 2015.

  • “Democratic Pieces: Autocratic Elections and Democratic Development since 1815.” 2015. British Journal of Political Science 45(3): 501-30. PDF

  • Elections, Information, and Policy Responsiveness in Autocratic Regimes.” 2015. Comparative Political Studies 48(6): 691-727. PDF

  • “Public Support for Democracy in Transitional Regimes,” with Juliet Pietsch and Jeffrey Karp. 2015. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties 25(1): 1-9.

  • “A Complete Data Set of Political Regimes, 1800-2007,” with Carles Boix and Sebastian Rosato. 2013. Comparative Political Studies 46(12): 1523-54. PDF

  • “Electoral Authoritarianism and Democracy: A Formal Model of Regime Transitions.” 2013. Journal of Theoretical Politics 25(2): 153-81. PDF

    • Won Elinor Ostrom Prize for best article published in JTP in 2013.

  • “For the Win! The Effect of Professional Sports Records on Mayoral Elections.” 2013. Social Science Quarterly 94(1): 59-78. PDF

  • “Economic Development, Violent Leader Removal, and Democratization.” 2012. American Journal of Political Science 56(4): 1002-20. PDF

  • “The Patron's Dilemma: The Dynamics of Foreign-Supported Democratization,” with Michael K. McKoy. 2012. Journal of Conflict Resolution 56(5): 904-32. PDF

  • “Citizen Forecasts of the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election,” with Guanchun Wang, Sanjeev R. Kulkarni, H. Vincent Poor, and Daniel Osherson. 2012. Politics & Policy 40(6): 1019-52. PDF

  • “Seizing the Mantle of Change: Modeling Candidate Quality as Effectiveness Instead of Valence.” 2011. Journal of Theoretical Politics 23(1): 52-68. PDF

  • “Methods for Distance-Based Judgment Aggregation,” with Daniel Osherson. 2009. Social Choice and Welfare 32(4): 575-601. PDF

  • “Social Choice Theory Without Pareto: The Pivotal Voter Approach.” 2009. Mathematical Social Sciences 58(2): 251-5. PDF

  • “Judgment Aggregation and Subjective Decision-Making.” 2008. Economics and Philosophy 24(2): 205-31. PDF

Papers in Physical Sciences

Current Projects

    • Book project: Restraining the Huddled Masses, with Margaret E. Peters (on migration from autocracies)

  • Book project: Social Mobility and Democratic Attitudes, with Christian Houle

  • “Get Out: How Authoritarian Governments Decide Who Emigrates,” with Julian Michel and Margaret E. Peters.

  • “Social Mobility and Populist Voting,” with Christian Houle.

  • “Prospect Theory, Moral Psychology, and Political Theory.”

  • “The Uses and Abuses of Matching in Political Science.” Under review. PDF

Other Work

    • “Leaders Shirking Their Nations' Democratic Facades More Brazenly.” 2018. The Hill. Link

    • “Better Democracy Promotion Through Immigration,” with Margaret E. Peters. 2018. Lawfare. Link

    • “How the U.S. Can Prepare for a Major Election Hack.” 2018. The Monkey Cage, Washington Post. Link

    • “Causal Models of Democratization,” with Carles Boix. 2018. Sage Handbook of Political Sociology.

    • “When Democracies Are Under Attack, It's Time to Rein in Executive Power,” with Benjamin A.T. Graham and Kaare W. Strøm. 2017. The Monkey Cage, Washington Post. Link

    • “A New Expert Survey Finds Warning Signs for the State of American Democracy.” 2017. The Monkey Cage, Washington Post. Link

    • Public Opinion and Democracy in Transitional Regimes: A Comparative Perspective, edited with Juliet Pietsch and Jeffrey Karp. 2016. Routledge. Link

    • “The Surprising Benefits of Autocratic Elections.” 2015. The Monkey Cage, Washington Post. Link

    • “Freedom's March,” with Carles Boix and Susan Stokes. 2013. Foreign Policy. Link

    • “Violent Leader Removal and Democratization.” 2011. The Monkey Cage, Washington Post. Link