Book Projects

‘This Rally is Not Sanctioned’: Nonviolent Repression in Electoral Autocracies 

In recent decades, electoral autocracies have responded to strategies of nonviolent resistance with strategies of nonviolent repression, coming through legislation. In anticipation of opposition authoritarian incumbents increasingly apply legal, regulatory, and financial pressure on their free press, restrict independent organizations’ access to funding, and use protest notifications to prevent groups from taking to the streets. These strategies, readily observable to the general public, are seldom effective at preventing dissent.

Through a focus on protest notifications, the book argues that nonviolent strategies of preventive repression yield substantially more than simply stifling dissent, or increasing the costs of mobilization, conventionally understood as their primary objectives. Like strategies of propaganda, observable preventive repression is used to shape mass beliefs about the opposition, justify the use of violent repression, and prevent coordination between opposition parties and voters. 21stcentury repression blurs the conventional boundaries between propaganda as a tool of persuasion and repression as a tool of fear. 

The book tests arguments drawing on original survey experiments, unusually detailed protest-event and notification data from Russia, as well as interviews with activists from the post-Soviet region and beyond. Nonviolent Repression contributes to the study of authoritarian politics and repression. The theory and evidence reveal why authoritarian leaders, surprisingly, advertise their failure to prevent dissent. They also show how strategies of nonviolent repression have shaped protest in nondemocratic regimes, contributing to the precarious resilience of authoritarian rule.   

In dissertation form, this research was awarded the 2019 Arthur McDougall Prize for Best Dissertation for elections and representation by the Political Studies Association. 

Money Flows: The political consequences of migrant remittances

(with Catherine E. de Vries, David Doyle, and Hector Solaz) Under contract with Oxford University Press

One of the most significant global trends in recent history has been the steady increase in global migration. This mass movement of people has spawned one of the largest transfers of capital the world has ever seen: remittances. For many developing world countries, remittances, money migrants send home from abroad, are now their major source of foreign exchange, outstripping both aid and foreign direct investment (FDI) as a source of foreign exchange for the developing world. One of the most enduring arguments in development economics holds that migrant remittances act as an important risk-sharing mechanism between poorer and richer countries. This view, reiterated by leading monetary and financial institutions, is echoed in political science research as well.

Our book highlights the unintended, and even unexpected political consequences of remittance flows. We focus on how remittances shape the relationship between citizens and their governments, and show that far from being an exclusively international risk-sharing mechanism, remittances can also compromise rudimentary accountability mechanisms in the developing world. The evidence shows why – especially when the economies in migrant receiving countries contract and grow – global migration and remittances may dampen the link between government performance, evaluations of government policy, and the vote. Economic dependence on remittance flows from wealthier states, we show, can spill over to the political domain and generate a form of political dependence as well. 

Money Flows draws on rich survey evidence from Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and six focus groups with remittance recipient households in Kyrgyzstan, one of the most remittance dependent countries in the world. The book contributes to debates on the consequences of migration and remittances and highlight the political implications of poorer countries’ increased dependence on richer economies.