1. The possibilities and limits of international status: evidence from foreign aid and public opinion (with Lauren Ferry) Review of International Organizations (link) ungated
    Abstract States use symbolic gestures to increase their international status, or relative position, within the international community. But how do the status-seeking actions of one state a ect the status of others? The common assumption is that improvements in one state's status lead to the relative deterioration of other states' status by comparison. In this paper, we focus on status' social qualities to delineate multiple theoretical pathways through which one state's status can change -- or not -- relative to another. Status is not conferred in a vacuum and the consequences of status-altering activities may spill over to third-parties. We field an original survey and reanalyze several existing studies to understand how relative status operates in the case of foreign aid; these surveys reveal novel empirical patterns about the circumstances under which a state's status will change relative to other states. We extend the analysis to examine who updates perceptions, what actions change status, and for whom status changes. Our findings suggest that status-enhancing actions may be successful at augmenting status amongst peers, but ultimately unsuccessful at changing global hierarchies.
  2. Foreign Aid Withdrawals and Suspensions: Why, When and Are They Effective? Introductin to Special Issue on Foreign Aid Withdrawals and Suspensions (with Nic Cheesemand and Haley Swedlund) World Development. Volume 178, June 2024, 106571 (link) (ungated)
    Abstract • Aid withdrawals/suspensions are qualitatively different from giving no aid, and frame development. • Aid suspensions follow a long chain of understudied political calculations and decisions by donors and recipients. • Further research is needed on the political calculations and options used by aid-receiving states to discipline donors.

Under review

Innovation and Interdependence: The Case of Gene-Editing Technology (with Tyler Pratt) (R & R at International Studies Quarterly)
Abstract Technological breakthroughs often reshape patterns of international exchange and interdependence, posing unique challenges for governments. We argue that innovation reduces policy autonomy among national governments in two ways. First, lower barriers to entry create opportunities for forum-shopping by researchers,  rms, and other actors. This facilitates regulatory arbitrage as actors evade national rules by relocating to more permissive jurisdictions. Second, public unease about new technologies creates the potential for backlash against controversial applications. This backlash can spill across borders: accidents or misuse in one jurisdiction undermine support for research and commercial development elsewhere. Together, these processes can generate ine cient cycles of accelerated progress disrupted by damaging controversies. We test these mechanisms in the case of gene editing,  nding support for the theory in data on scienti c employment patterns and a survey experiment examining public backlash. Our results demonstrate that technological disruption increases interdependence and undermines states' ability to regulate in isolation.

Aiding the energy transition? How greening foreign aid affects domestic politics (Under review)

Abstract Greening foreign aid is a vital step in the fight against climate change, but requires donors to shift their funding away from carbon-intensive development projects. Novel data from the World Bank shows that aid withdrawal, particularly in the energy sec- tor, is common. As donors withdraw their support for fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy, the economic benefits to voters in aid-dependent countries depends on their representatives’ links to foreign funding. I use a spatial difference-in-differences design to test the theory in the case of the World Bank’s withdrawal of support for a coal plant in Kosovo. Aid withdrawal altered voting patterns for parties with close ties to the international community: coal-producing areas voted disproportionately against this party while places with potential for investment in renewables voted for it. The distri- butional effects of the green energy transition may determine long-term international influence as their domestic allies bear the costs (and benefits). The centrality of inter- national funding for energy in developing nations adds nuance to our understanding of global climate politics.

Working Papers

A political economy of aid and legitimacy (draft)

Abstract While some scholars find that recipient citizens credit domestic governments for aid, other scholars see aid credited to international donors. I theorize the conditions under which aid recipients will credit donors or governments. I start from two stylized facts: 1) aid is politically targeted and 2) aid features a long chain of diverse actors. The political targeting of aid leads political allies of the domestic government to expect, and often receive, large shares of aid. However, politically excluded groups can observe this phenomenon and do not expect to receive targeted aid from domestic governments. When politically excluded groups receive aid, they attribute less credit to the government, instead crediting international organizations with the aid. Using ethnicity as a salient and visible political cleavage, I show that when ethnic groups are excluded from political power, they do not credit governments with foreign aid. This pattern reverses when aid is non-excludable, where government involvement is visible, and spatial ethnic segregation low. By targeting aid at ethnic minorities, international organizations may create perverse incentives for domestic governments to further shift funding away from ethnic minorities if targeting these groups offers few domestic political benefits.

Aid, blame, and backlash (draft)

Abstract Donors use foreign aid to promote liberal values such as democracy and multicul- turalism in developing countries. An under-explored dimension of foreign aid is aid to ethnic minorities. I show that donors explicitly target ethnic minority groups in countries across the world. How does foreign aid for ethnic minorities affect politics in recipient countries? I argue that minority aid comes at a cost (real and perceived) to ethnic majority groups; the blame for this aid is then placed on political representa- tives. Novel observational and experimental evidence finds three significant challenges to donor support for minority aid: 1) minority aid reduces the amount of general aid, 2) citizens oppose politicians who acquire minority aid and support anti-minority parties, and 3) citizens are willing to forgo substantial aid to prevent minority aid targeting. Donor attempts to help vulnerable populations may lead to backlash that empowers anti-minority actors, making the political landscape of recipient countries more dangerous for the groups they sought to aid.

In Progress

The Politics of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (with Ed Mansfield)

Abstract How do politics map onto the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC)? According to the EKC, as countries develop from low to middle-income, they specialize in industries with higher emissions. Both very low-income (pre-industrialized) and very high-income (de-industrialized) countries are comparatively more likely to specialize in low-emission sectors. We argue that countries on different locations of the EKC will vary in their domestic political cleavages. While populism and environmentalism are at odds in de-industrialized countries, newly industrialized countries will see parties unify the two concepts. Data from political party manifestos and public statements supports these conjectures. We then trace the evolution of support for environmental and populist policies amongst programmatic political parties in sub-Saharan Africa. Using historical labor and public opinion data, we examine if political parties representing ethnic groups with labor concentration in newly exporting industries become more likely to oppose both environmental and populist policies. Concurrently, we look at when the international community begins to increase its support for environmentally friendly policies, these parties simultaneously become anti-international collaboration while maintaining pro-globalization positions.

Gender and Opportunity in the Post-Carbon Economy (with Richard Clark and Noah Zucker)

Abstract Women are typically more supportive of climate action than men. However, in fossil fuel communities, women align with men in resisting decarbonization. How can we make sense of this? We argue that differences in post-carbon economic opportunity explain variation in women's support for decarbonization. In areas reliant on fossil fuel industries intensive in low-skilled male labor, communities underinvest in education and gender-equitable welfare. This leaves women without the skills or time needed to find gainful employment as husbands in fossil fuel industries lose work, diminishing the appeal of decarbonization. Where investments of this sort are made, women are better able to find well-paying jobs as fossil fuel industries decline, increasing the appeal of the post-carbon economy. Men, who often see their social status as tied to the survival of local fossil fuel industries, are less swayed by changes in post-carbon economic opportunity. To support this argument, we combine local labor market data with original survey experiments fielded in coal, oil, and gas communities across the United States. Our findings shed light on the makeup of climate coalitions in advanced economies and highlight the importance of centering gender in just transition policymaking.

Other Work

"Less Stress, More Confidence": Supporting Junior Scholars Online at the Graduate Student International Political Economy Workshop. 2022, PS: Political Science & Politics. (with Alex Kirss and Paul Ko). (ungated)