Methodologically, I am interested in text analysis and multilevel modeling under a Bayesian framework. Substantively, I use the interaction between microeconomic theory and causal inference to study political economy, with a particular focus on party institutionalization and elections in authoritarian regimes. I also collaborate on various projects that study the authoritarian rule in both contemporary and historical China.
1) Making Electoral Autocracy Work: Instability, Policy Bias, and Unintended Consequences of Institutions
Literature on the political economy of nondemocracies suggests that autocrats use institutions to strategically strengthen authoritarian rule, while it downplays the unintended consequence of political institutions. Using panel data over the period of 1972–2010, we find an unintended consequence of autocratic institutions: as a response to instability, leaders in electoral authoritarian regimes have to be more responsive than leaders in authoritarian regimes and democracies. However, the effect of political instability on regime responsiveness in electoral authoritarian regimes is short-run, and weakened when leaders have alternative tools (i.e. state capacity) to remain in power. Our findings suggest that while strong leaders can use institutions as an instrument for survival, weak leaders might have to pay for the unintended consequence of political institutions in an electoral authoritarian context.
Work in Progress
a.) Subtracting by Adding: Experimental Evidence on Effects of Censorship in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes
b.) Apathy by Choice: Experimental Evidence on Strategic Disengagement in Authoritarian and Electoral Authoritarian Regimes