My research analyzes how global markets shape domestic politics and policy. I am interested in why and how politicians open markets, what determines the quality of regulation and property rights provision, and how ownership structure can be manipulated to gain political influence. More broadly, my research interests include the politics of trade and finance, asset ownership, property rights, democratization and representation, formal modeling, and political economy. All papers and replication files are available by request.

Published Work

"Investment Agreements and the Fragmentation of Firms across Countries," Forthcoming, Review of International Organizations

Co-authored with Timm Betz and Weiwen Yin

We argue that, by strategically locating subsidiaries in ?transit? countries, firms systematically expand their access to investment agreements. This firm-specific access to investment agreements through transit countries also has implications for investment flows.

"The Political Importance of Financial Performance," 2020, American Journal of Political Science, Vol 64, Issue 1, 152-168, pdf

Co-authored with Christina Zafeiridou

Political concern for financial performance limits the extent to which immobile assets can be targeted for taxation. We argue that broad-based participation in the stock market and democratic political institutions increase political concern for financial performance and therefore limit the taxation of firms with immobile assets.

"Political Risk Insurance: A New Firm-Level Dataset," 2020, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol 64, Issue 5, 987-1006, pdf

Co-authored with Vincent Arel-Bundock and Clint Peinhardt

This paper introduces a dataset which includes information on over 5000 political risk insurance contracts issued by the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation since 1961, and on all the claims filed by investors under these contracts. These detailed insurance data allow us to study the determinants of foreign investors' losses from a variety of sources, including expropriation, inconvertibility, and violent conflict.

"Foreign Financing and the International Sources of Property Rights," 2019, World Politics, Vol 71, Issue 3, 503-541, pdf

Co-authored with Timm Betz

How do firms protect themselves against infringements of their property rights by their own government? We develop a theory based on international law. By forming financial relationships with foreign firms, domestic firms gain indirect coverage from the property rights available to foreign firms under international law: If the government is less likely to violate the property rights of covered foreign firms, it is also less likely to violate property rights when assets are held jointly by domestic and foreign firms.

"The Absence of Consumer Interests in Trade Policy," 2019, Journal of Politics, Vol 81, Issue 2, 585-600, pdf

Co-authored with Timm Betz

Why are democratic countries more open to international trade than others? Prominent explanations emphasize the influence of voters as consumers: Because governments in democracies are less beholden to interest groups, they are better able to implement policies that benefit voters as consumers; they therefore should provide lower tariffs. Using data on consumption shares across product categories, this paper reports evidence that consumer interests have little impact on tariffs. Governments place higher tariffs on goods with higher consumption shares; we find no evidence that this relationship attenuates as countries democratize.

"The Politics of Redistribution, Property Rights, and Financial Openness," 2018, Economics & Politics, Vol 30, Issue 2, 181-210, pdf

This paper develops a formal model to disentangle the political incentives for openness, property rights provision, and redistributive taxation. Representative political institutions increase both property rights provision and redistributive taxation. However, market openness drives a wedge between the two policies, as foreign investors prefer increased property rights and reduced redistribution. In responding to investors, the government will rely more on property rights provision (rather than limiting redistribution) in order to attract foreign investment when political institutions are more representative.

"Worker Influence on Capital Account Policy: Inflow Liberalization and Outflow Restrictions," 2018, International Interactions, Vol 44, Issue 2, 244-267, pdf

How do workers impact openness to international investment flows? This paper distinguishes between two types of openness, openness to inflows and openness to outflows of investment. Workers benefit from inflow openness due to increases in wages, productivity, and efficiency and due to reductions in borrowing costs, which are associated with investment inflows. Workers are hurt by outflow openness, as investors gain investment options, and therefore bargaining power, when outflows are permitted. When labor groups have political influence, we observe more openness to capital inflows and less openness to capital outflows.

"Financial Liberalization: Stable Autocracies and Constrained Democracies," 2018, Comparative Political Studies, Vol 51, Issue 1, 105-135, pdf

Why do autocratic rulers liberalize financial markets? This paper shows how autocrats use financial liberalization for two distinct purposes. Autocrats may use liberalization to stimulate the economy and stabilize their rule or to reduce redistribution in anticipation of democratization. When redistribution is the main fear associated with democratization, the mobility associated with liberalization makes direct control of political institutions through dictatorship unnecessary. Suharto's policies in Indonesia and Pinochet's policies in Chile illustrate these two objectives of financial liberalization.

"Economic Sanctions and Demand for Protection," 2017, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol 61, Issue 5, 1073-1094, pdf

How do the distributional consequences of economic sanctions impact future trade policy? Regardless of whether sanctions are effective in achieving concessions, sanctions restrict international trade flows, creating rents for import-competing producers, who are protected from international competition. These rents can then be used to pressure the government to implement protectionist policies. Thus, while the lifting of sanctions directly facilitates some international transactions, sanctions also create a powerful domestic interest group seeking market protection.

Working Papers

Biased Politicians and Independent Agencies

Many agencies derive legitimacy from their political independence (e.g., central banks). Nevertheless, the process of agency reform, even for agencies that are thought to be independent, is seldom onerous and often follows standard legislative procedures. Why then do politicians abstain from exercising influence through agency reform? This paper delineates an informational cost to agency reform. In issue areas where politicians are biased and citizens cannot perfectly observe the quality of reform, citizens may assume that reform serves the politician?s interest and punish him for any reform at all. Agency independence then comes more from informational challenges than from institutional design.

Governments as Borrowers and Regulators

Co-authored with Timm Betz

We identify a set of policies that governments use to create an advantaged position for their own debt on financial markets, exploiting their dual role as borrowers and regulators. These borrowing privileges require or incentivize banks and institutional investors to hold a share of their assets in government debt. We show that governments implement borrowing privileges to shore up demand for their own debt when fiscal pressures increase.

Financial Regulation in Democracies

Co-authored with Timm Betz

We introduce a new dataset of regulations that encourage banks and institutional investors to hold their own government debt. We document that borrowing privileges are more common in democracies, where the erosion of traditional revenue sources, increased demand for government spending, and heightened political competition lead governments to reach for intransparent regulations to help meet financing demands.

Political Ownership

Co-authored with Timm Betz

Because political connections provide substantial benefits to firms, political turnover prompts newly politically connected individuals to take, and disconnected individuals to cede, ownership of firms. This pattern should be more pronounced among firms with more immobile assets, because these are more vulnerable to government policy and have more to gain from political connections.

Costly Signaling in Autocracy

Co-authored with Robert J. Carroll

Using a simple signaling model, we find that rulers cannot meaningfully convey their type by transferring wealth to the citizenry. However, they can convey their type through shows of force, as long as the strong type of autocrat ? who would use violent repression in the case of revolution ? has a competitive advantage in displaying his strength.

Managerial Succession and Organizational Performance: Evidence from Central Banks

Co-authored with Seung-Ho An

Research in public administration has emphasized the importance of employee succession for organizational performance. The study here draws on detailed data documenting succession among central bank presidents and inflation rates to assess how theories developed for employees apply to high-level managers. We present evidence consistent with a non-linear relationship between managerial succession and performance.