Methodologically, I am interested in text analysis and multilevel modeling. Substantively, I use formal theory and experiments to study political economy, with a particular focus on electoral institutions and voting behavior in consolidating democracies and authoritarian regimes in Southeast Asia. I also collaborate on various projects that study the authoritarian rule in contemporary China.
1) Making Electoral Autocracy Work: Instability, Policy Concessions, and Unintended Consequence of Institutions [pre-print; online appendix]
Literature on the political economy of nondemocracies suggests that autocrats use institutions to strategically strengthen political rule, while it downplays the economic cost of such political institutions. If formal institutions can offer leaders political benefits with negligible costs, then why don’t authoritarian leaders all adopt formal institutions? Using panel data over the period of 1974–2010, we identify one unintended consequence of autocratic institutions: as a response to domestic instability, leaders in electoral authoritarian regimes are more likely to adopt the more costly, mass-based policy concession compared to leaders in democracies. However, the effect of political instability on mass-based policy concessions in electoral authoritarian regimes is short- run, and weakened when the leader is established. Our findings join the burgeoning literature on authoritarian institutions and electoral authoritarianism, and suggest that while established leaders can use institutions as an instrument for survival, weak leaders might have to pay for the unintended economic cost of such institutions in an electoral authoritarian context.
2.) How Voters Perceive Democratic Backsliding in Developing Democracies [pre-analysis; pre-print; online appendix]
Work in Progress
1.) Measuring Subnational Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia
2.) Legislators’ Effort in Authoritarian Regimes: A Text as Data Approach