Non-governmental Organizations Goals and Political Volatility: NGO Entrance in Nicaragua

How do authoritarian regimes manage the destabilizing effects of NGOs? Though NGOs provide goods and improve outcomes that may help authoritarian regimes, they produce political uncertainty through enhancement of civil society. Despite these opposing pressures, relations between domestic political actors and NGOs are often characterized as static. I argue that authoritarian regimes take calculated risks in welcoming different types of NGOs and obstructing others depending on domestic political conditions. Through an analysis of a new data set on government obstruction of NGO registration, I find that electoral certainty motivates regimes to incur the costs associated with NGO establishment while barriers are placed against politicized NGOs from establishment.

Can Courts Be Bulwarks of Democracy? ( with Jeffrey Staton, Christopher Reenock, and Stafan Lindberg )

See a summary of the book here.

Missing Tools from the Repression Toolbox (with Kimberly Frugé)

How do subnational politics affect state repression? Current scholarship on repression considers tactics used by all members of the executive. These actions range from direct orders by a leader to suppress opposition, to individual members of a military or police force acting outside the bounds of rule of law. It stands to reason that these actors are beholden to distinct dynamics that influence their use of repression. We contend that subnational districts that experience low political competition also experience more police initiated repression than more competitive areas. We also expect that when political elites have exclusive access to local repression apparatuses they will rely more heavily on police initiated repression. Mexico provides an excellent opportunity to examine the conditions for these actions. By using an event count dataset of reports of police repression and subnational variation in domestic politics, we examine the incentives for repression with varying government composition. We find that the dynamics that influence police use of repression depend on the electoral environment and political party alignment of the governorship with the presidency. This highlights the importance of considering subnational variation when examining state repression.