Published and Forthcoming Works

forthcoming (With Jane Lawrence) "What's The Risk? Bilateral Investment Treaties, Political Risk and Fixed Capital Accumulation" British Journal of Political Science

2012 (with Holli Semetko and Margaret Scammell) “Leaders on the Campaign Trail: The Impact of Television News on Perceptions of Party Leaders in British General Elections” in Sage Handbook of Political Communication, Holli Semetko and Margaret Scammell, eds.. Sage Publications Ltd

2010 (w/ Jeffrey Kucik). “The International and Domestic Determinants of Insider Trading Laws”(with Jeffrey Kucik). International Studies Quarterly 54, 657–682

2010 “Wpływ polityki inwestycyjnej OFE na ład korporacyjny w Polsce” (The impact of OFE investment policies on the politics of Polish corporate governance) (w/ Eric Reinhardt) Better Government Programme, Ernst and Young Poland

Press Coverage of “Wpływ polityki inwestycyjnej OFE na ład korporacyjny w Polsce” (In Polish) Gazeta Wyborcza, Rzeczpospolita

2009 “Why Should I Believe You: The Costs and Consequences of Bilateral Investment Treaties”International Studies Quarterly. 53(1) 73-102.


Selected Working Papers and Projects

The Ownership Society: Political Implications of Pension Reform (Book Project)

Related material most recently presented at Harvard Business School November 2012

The last 30 years has seen a dramatic “financialization” of pension systems. Countries, particularly in Latin America and Eastern Europe, have replaced or complimented their defined benefit pay-as-you-go pension systems with financed, defined contribution alternatives. One of the side-effects of this switch has been a significant increase in the number of citizens whose welfare is directly tied to the movements of financial markets. This book project examines the political implications of this shift and places the recent round of pension reform and its effects in the context of other government initiated expansions of capital ownership, including Thatcher's enterprise society and Eastern European privatization in the early 1990s. The empirical contribution focuses on pension reform's effects on public attitudes towards markets, patterns of economic voting, and policymaking in the shadow of widespread capital ownership.


Can Foreign Stock Investors Influence Policymaking? Under review

Draft most recently presented at MPSA. Chicago, Ill April 2011

Abstract:  Foreign portfolio stock investors often attach political criteria to their investment choices, sometimes in the hope of pressuring policymakers in boycotted markets to adjust their policies.  This paper asks when the decision to not invest in foreign stock markets for political reasons catalyzes policy change in those countries.  Unlike investors in government bonds that target state interests directly, foreign portfolio stock investors directly target the interests of the shareholders and managers of publicly listed firms.  I argue that foreign portfolio stock investor's policymaking influence is limited by their ability to damage shareholders' and managers' interests and by those shareholders' and managers' ability to affect policy change.  I test my theory with a quantitative analysis of a uniquely well suited dataset of policy reactions to CalPERS' Permissible Equity Markets Policy.  The results conform to my theoretical expectations.


The Ownership Society: Loss Aversion and Popular Support for Markets in Post-Pension Reform Latin America Under Review

Draft most recently presented at MPSA, Chicago Ill. April 2013

Abstract: Capital owners are typically thought to support market friendly policies and politicians.  Accordingly, conservative governments have often sought to expand capital ownership  as a means of bolstering popular support for themselves and their policy agenda.  While well documented,  little is known about whether government-initiated expansions of capital ownership are an effective way to influence political opinion. This paper explores this question in the context of Latin American pension reforms.  Using two different sets of survey data I find consistent evidence that Latin American pension reform has not created a more conservative society.  Instead, Latin American pension reform has has created a society in which popular attitudes towards the market are increasingly tied to pension returns. Moreover, the weight of evidence suggests that public attitudes towards the markets are more affected by low returns (which alienate society from the market) than high returns.


Liberal Mercantilism: Exchange Rate Regimes, Foreign Currency Denominated Debt and Trade Disputes (with Timm Betz)  Under Review

Draft most recently presented at MPSA. Chicago Ill. April 2013

Abstract: The use of trade policy as a means of attracting and maintaining hard currency reserves is typically associated with illiberal trade policies, as in 17th and 18th century mercantilism. We argue that the need to protect access to hard currency can also serve liberal ends when it is used as an impetus to open up export markets abroad by initiating trade disputes. We call this behavior “liberal mercantilism”. We explore the existence and extent of liberal mercantilism by identifying conditions that increase hard currency needs and corresponding these conditions to the timing and frequency of trade disputes. We find that liberal mercantilism is a substantively important driver of dispute initiations. Our findings have several implications. We provide an explanation for differences in dispute participation rates among developing countries, and we suggest a new link between exchange rate regimes and trade policy. The currency denomination of government debt appears as an important determinant of government behavior in the international political economy.


What we talk about when we talk about foreign direct investment. Under Review

Draft most recently presented at PIPES, University of Chicago October 2012

Abstract: This paper argues that the foreign direct investment (FDI) data commonly used for hypothesis testing in the political science literature bears, at best, passing resemblance to the phenomena that our theories speak to, and often diverges in ways that are sure to cause bias.  I describe some of the key conceptual issues surrounding the quantification of FDI, how commonly used data deals with these issues, and the extent to which those coding rules allow or prevent these data to speak to political science theories.  I then show that the apparent empirical relationship between democracy, political risk and MNC behavior is deeply impacted by “getting the measure right”.  I conclude by arguing that political science theories of FDI speak to such a wide variety of empirically and conceptually distinct phenomena that rhetorically lumping them all together as “FDI” does a disservice to the complexity of the topic.   Political science should abandon the word “FDI” as a descriptor of what it is interested in.

Real Money, Fake Data:  The Political Economy of World Bank Data Manipulation - (w/ Alison Beatty)  

To be presented at IPES October 2013

Dreher, Sturm and Vreeland (2009) show that the World Bank distributes development aid in a manner that privileges US allies.  One of the ostensible limits this behavior is the fact the access to concessional lending through the IDA is limited to countries that are sufficiently poor; richer countries have to draw on less concessional lending facilities at the IBRD.  This, it turns out, is less of an obstacle to political manipulation than one might think.  Poverty in this case is determined by GNI per capita data that is published by the World Bank, giving the World Bank an incentive to publish data that keeps US allies “poor” and therefore eligible for IDA loans.  We find overwhelming evidence that GNI per capita data is being manipulated in this way.  Using data from the late 1980s through the present, we find a significant clustering of the GNIs per capita of US allies (identified as such by their UN Voting records) within $50 of GNI per capita poorer than the IDA eligibility threshold.  No such pattern is evident in the GNIs per capita of non-US allies.  The odd behavior of the GNIs per capita of US allies near the IDA eligibility threshold is visually obvious and confirmed by more sophisticated techniques. 


Calling the Shot: The Political Economy of Inflation Targeting (w/ Alton Worthington)

Draft most recently presented at MPSA. Chicago, Ill April 2011

Abstract:  Inflation targeting – the use an explicit, forward looking inflation rate as the target for monetary policy – has become popular among central bankers as a mechanism for alleviating self-fulfilling inflationary expectations in the private sector.  Despite this, the jury is still out with respect to inflation targeting’s effectiveness.  At its core, inflation targeting is an observable promise to conduct monetary policy in a way that is not necessarily politically expedient. Inflation targeting's success is tightly bound to the credibility of that promise. We propose that inflation targeting will only be successful when the monetary authority is sufficiently independent from the government, and when this independence is made verifiable by democratic institutions.  While the importance of pairing inflation targeting with independent and transparent monetary institutions is well established, it remains untested in the extant literature and, indeed, cannot be tested with commonly used identifiers of inflation targeting regimes.  We test our hypothesis using an alternative identifier of inflation targeting regimes and cross-national survey data on inflationary expectations in the private sector.  We find that inflation targeting is only effective in democracies with independent central banks.

The Wages of Sin: Foreign Debt Load , Inflation Credibility and Institutional Efficacy

Abstract: Excessive foreign currency debt liabilities are usually thought of as a bad
thing, not least of which because the need to preserve public and private balance sheets prevents monetary authorities from managing output through the exchange rate. I argue that there is an upside to this: foreign currency debt liabilities act as a clear and credible signal that monetary authorities will not pursue inflationary policies for electoral gain, easing private sector inflationary expectations in the process. By making inflation less attractive, the presence of foreign currency debt also has implications for when we should expect fixed exchange rates, inflation targets and central bank independence to have an effect on private sector inflationary expectations. These institutions work by raising the costs of running inflation that would otherwise be attractive to governments. They should be less relevant to inflationary expectations when inflation is already known to be politically unattractive. I test these hypotheses empirically by extending Broz and Plouffe's (2010) model of inflationary expectations. My results suggest that the combination of an open capital account and foreign currency debt 1) lowers inflationary expectations, and 2) significantly diminishes the effect that exchange rate fixes or inflation targets have on inflationary expectations.