Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies

Faculty Associate, Center for South Asian Studies

Faculty Fellow, Energy Institute

University of Michigan


7634 Haven Hall

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI 48109




Brian Min studies the political economy of development with an emphasis on distributive politics, public goods provision, and energy politics. His current research uses satellite imagery of nighttime lights and other geo-coded data to show how the distribution of electricity is shaped by electoral politics across the developing world.


His book, Power and the Vote, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. He is the recipient of the 2011 Gabriel Almond Award from the American Political Science Association for best dissertation in the field of comparative politics. His research has been funded by the World Bank, International Growth Centre, and the National Science Foundation. He has conducted fieldwork in India, West Africa, Vietnam, and across Inuit lands in the Canadian Arctic.


He has also conducted research on ethnic politics and conflict, including the collection of a large new dataset (with Lars-Erik Cederman and Andreas Wimmer) on Ethnic Power Relations (EPR) in all countries of the world from 1946–2005.






Tracking Electrification in Vietnam Using Nighttime Lights” (with Kwawu Mensan Gaba). Remote Sensing. 6(10):9511–9529. 2014.


Electoral Cycles in Electricity Losses in India” (with Miriam Golden). Energy Policy. 65:619–625. 2014.

News coverage: Economic Times, Hindustan Times, India Today, Mint, DNA - Daily News and Analysis, Firstpost, Outlook, Financial Express, Business Standard.


Detection of Rural Electrification in Africa using DMSP-OLS Night Lights Imagery” (with Kwawu Mensan Gaba, Ousmane Fall Sarr, Alassane Agalassou). International Journal of Remote Sensing 34(22):8118–8141. 2013.


Distributive Politics Around the World” (with Miriam Golden). Annual Review of Political Science 16:73–99. 2013.

Supplemental inventory of articles on distributive politics
Supplemental bibliography of articles on distributive politics


Why Do Ethnic Groups Rebel? New Data and Analysis” (with Lars-Erik Cederman and Andreas Wimmer). World Politics 62(1):87–119. 2010.


Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict: A Configurational Analysis” (with Andreas Wimmer and Lars-Erik Cederman). American Sociological Review 74(2):316–337. 2009.

Online appendix with coding rules for the Ethnic Power Relations (EPR) dataset and additional tables.


Baghdad Nights: Evaluating the US Military Surge Using Night Light Signatures” (with John Agnew, Thomas W. Gillespie, and Jorge Gonzalez). Environment and Planning A 40(10): 2285–2295. 2008.

Press reactions: Reuters, New Scientist, Xinhua (China), and blogs at the New York Times - Freakonomics, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, ADN (Spain).


From Empire to Nation-State: Explaining War in the Modern World, 1816–2001.” (with Andreas Wimmer). American Sociological Review 71(6):867–897. 2006.

Winner, 2007 Best Paper Award, Political Sociology Section, American Sociological Association.
Winner, 2007 Best Paper Award, Comparative Historical Sociology Section, American Sociological Association.