Current projects


Authoritarian Leadership Politics and Autocracy Promotion: Revisionist Ideology and Populist Rhetoric

My dissertation research focuses on signaling to domestic audiences as an explanation of threatening behavior by autocratic regimes in the form of initiation of military conflict and sponsorship of non-state armed groups targeting foreign nations.

Conference Papers

American Political Science Association 2023: “Autocracy Promotion Through Trade and Financial Cooperation: the Case of ALBA.” Long term project includes examinations of non-economic motivations for joining ALBA through country case studies of current members and examination of changes in the two countries that have left ALBA.

Midwest Political Science Association 2023: “Autocracy Promotion: Trade, Finance and Cooperative Behavior Models.” Analyzes the effect of membership in the Cuban and Venezuelan led Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) on interstate relations, member state ideology, and quality of democratic governance. Interstate relations within ALBA and relations with liberal democracies are examined using the Formal Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) Index.

Southern Political Science Association 2023: “The Threat of Autocracy Promotion: International Attacks on Democracy as Domestic Signaling.” Examines support by nondemocracies for non-state armed groups targeting foreign states as signaling to domestic audiences of willingness and capability to use armed violent force.

Western Political Science Association 2021: “Authoritarian Leadership Politics and Conflict Export: Insurgency and terrorism as tools of autocratic ideology promotion.” Proposes that support for non-state armed groups targeting foreign states serves a role for autocrats of signaling ideological commitment to domestic audiences analogous to the role played by expropriation of elite property in revolutionary socialist autocracies.

Midwest Political Science Association 2021: “Autocratic Leadership Ideology and the Risk of Interstate Conflict: Ideological Supporters and Audience Costs.” Argues that rational nondemocratic leaders may choose seemingly irrational conflict because they receive benefits in the form of increased loyalty from domestic ideological supporters and conversely may pay opportunity costs for foregoing conflict.

Selected Work in Progress

“Semi-supervised Machine Learning for Measuring Populist and Ideological Rhetoric in Opaque Societies.” Creates a measure of populism using a Latent Semantic Scaling model on a corpus of UN General Assembly speeches, validated against existing measures and alternate models, and compared to a simpler sentiment analysis model with theoretical implications for distinguishing the threat level for democracy in populist speech.

“Domestic Bond Market Organization and Sovereign Credit Costs in International Markets: Institutional effects on transparency and credibility.” To what extend do non-political domestic financial institutions contribute to sovereign credibility in international debt markets? This paper analyzes domestic bond market data from the Asian Development Bank and its effects on sovereign borrowing costs.