The Durability of Presidential and Parliament-Based DictatorshipsComparative Political Studies 48(7)915-948
Abstract: Many scholars have examined the durability of parliamentary versus presidential regimes in democracies, but the process by which authoritarian leaders are (nominally) elected is generally assumed to be irrelevant. However, even if the electoral outcome is not in doubt, the executive selection process may affect outcomes such as regime durability. I argue that, when opposition parties are allowed to participate in the executive selection process, a Parliament-based election system increases authoritarian regime durability by creating incentives for ruling party elites to work cooperatively for mutual gain. In this article, I identify dictatorships by executive selection system and find that regimes with a multiparty Parliament-based system are more durable than those with a multiparty Presidential system or an Unelected (or single party) system if the party, relative to the ruler and the military, is an important power center.
Online AppendixCodebook  Data
"Executive Election Rules in Dictatorships Matter. Here's Why." Washington Post, The Monkey Cage, May 12, 2015. 
"Do executive election rules matter in authoritarian regimes?" Presidential Power, May 14, 2015. 

Côte d’Ivoire’s 2015 Presidential Election: A Sign of Democratic Progress? (with Joseph Koné, Stéphane Koffi and Kim Yi Dionne)Journal of African Elections 15(1): 45-61
The 2015 presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire was the first since multiparty elections were introduced in 1990 in which all major parties were able to compete without triggering a civil war. We examine the extent of democratic progress registered by this milestone election, focusing on three democratic qualities of elections: competition, participation, and legitimacy. Whereas competitiveness and participation measures both fell relative to the 2010 election, the 2015 election was contested by all major parties and its results were accepted peacefully, registering a dramatic step forward in the legitimacy of the electoral process and outcome. We support this conclusion with a historical analysis; and by comparing the final 2015 results with parallel vote tabulation for the 2015 election, Afrobarometer survey data from 2014, and a subnational analysis of voter turnout in 2015 relative to 2010.

"The most interesting thing about Côte d’Ivoire’s election was that it wasn’t interesting." Washington Post, The Monkey Cage, November 26, 2015.

The 2015 Presidential Election in Togo (with Ekoutiame A. Ahlin and Kim Dionne)
Electoral Studies 39:168-173
"Most Togolese support term limits. But they just re-elected their president for a third term." (with Ekoutiame A. Ahlin and Kim Dionne.) Washington Post, The Monkey Cage May 4, 2015. 
The Legislative Election in Togo, October 2007Electoral Studies 27: 558-561

"Here’s why Benin’s election was a step forward for African democratic consolidation. And why it wasn’t." Washington Post, The Monkey Cage March 22, 2016. 

"5 things you should know about Guinea’s (peaceful!) election." Washington Post, The Monkey Cage, October 20, 2015

Comparative Fieldwork Experience in Three Neighboring West African Countries. Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies, 33(1)


Economic Policy, Political Constraints, and Foreign Direct Investment.

Abstract: As foreign direct investment has become increasingly important in the world economy, a large body of literature has emerged regarding determinants of FDI flows. Some scholars find democracy attracts FDI through the mechanism of political constraints, which reduce the risk of negative policy changes. However, the value of policy stability should be conditional on the attractiveness of FDI-relevant policies. I therefore propose a more theoretically complete argument: in an FDI-friendly policy environment, political constraints indicate future favorable policies and attract FDI inflow, but in a negative policy environment, political constraints may hinder FDI-friendly policy changes. This argument helps explain why the positive relationship between democracy and FDI seems to emerge after a global shift toward FDI-friendly polices. I find robust empirical support for the argument in tests covering 111 countries from 1970-2010 using policy measures from the Economic Freedom of the World project and three measures of political constraints/veto players.


Authoritarian Executive Election Systems and Military Coups

Presidential democracies have been found to be more prone to military coups than parliamentary democracies. In this paper, I explore whether formal rules for selecting the executive in authoritarian regimes affects the occurrence of military coups. I argue that a Parliament-based executive selection system (in which a prime minister or president are elected by a policy-making body elected according to multiparty rules) reduces the probability of military coups, relative to a Presidential system, in authoritarian regimes where power is centered in the ruling party. I test the argument using new (preliminary) data for executive selection systems and find some support, although the effect loses significance when a matching technique is used to eliminate cases without similar matches in both the treatment and control groups.

Aid Effectiveness and Allocation: Evidence from Malawi (with Kim Yi Dionne and Eric Kramon).

This paper measures the impact of foreign aid, conditional on how and where it is spent. If aid has diminishing marginal returns, then aid should have the greatest impact when allocated to where it is needed most. Aid allocation based on political favoritism may have less impact because the goal is merely to deliver patronage to politically important constituencies rather than to achieve development goals. Our analysis has a two-stage approach that identies rst the determinants of aid allocation and then the impact of aid. We focus on how sector-specic aid projects aect outcomes in their respective sectors. We draw on multiple data sources from Malawi that measure need for development aid, geo-coded distribution of aid projects, and development outcomes.

Tyson Roberts,
Jul 14, 2015, 1:51 PM
Tyson Roberts,
Jul 14, 2015, 1:51 PM
Tyson Roberts,
Jul 14, 2015, 2:45 PM