Current Research

Political economy is most interesting where political institutions are unstable and markets are inefficient.  Under these conditions, intellectual puzzles abound, and academic advances have real potential to save and improve lives. 

My primary research is on the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the development and stabilization of fragile and developing states. I also conduct research on diaspora direct investment, unrecognized states, powersharing, federalism, and the political economy of conquest.

Currently, Cesi Cruz and I are fielding a firm-level survey in the Philippines as part of the Social Networks, Political Risk, and Foreign Direct Investment project. 

If you are a student interested in working me on any of the projects listed on this site, please don't hesitate to contact me. A variety of funding sources are available.  USC undergraduates, see here.


Recent Publications

"Diaspora-Owned Firms and Social Responsibility.Review of Internaitonal Political Economy, 2013. A gated link is here. To request an ungated copy, please e-mail me. 

Democracies Only: When do FDI Agreements Serve as a Seal of Approval.” (with Molly Bauer and Cesi Cruz).  Review of International Organizations, 2012.  A gated link is here.  For replication data, or to request an ungated copy of the paper, please e-mail me. 

Nagorno-Karabakh in Limbo.” Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 16 (4), 2009.  An ungated copy of the paper is here.

Powersharing, Agency, and Civil Conflict

The Powersharing, Agency, and Civil Conflict dataset records the institutions through which power is shared and divided between groups. We code over 30 variables for 180 countries 1975-2010. We are using this data to explore the effects of powersharing on civil conflict, public goods provision, and 

Primary Investigators: Scott Gates and Kaare Strom

Other Collaborators: Håvard Strand and Yonatan Lupu.

The Political Economy of Unrecognized States

Unrecognized states are entities that control territory and govern populations but lack recognition as independent states. Unrecognized statehood is, in many ways, a normatively bad outcome, but a number of these entities have persisted for over 20 years. This project, in collaboration with Ben Horne, uses applied game theory to explore the conditions under which unrecognized statehood persists, and under which peaceful settlement is possible. 

Associated Papers:

Unrecognized States:  A Theory of Self-Determination and Foreign Influence. (with Ben Horne). An ungated version of the paper is here.

Nagorno-Karabakh in Limbo.Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 16 (4), 2009.  An ungated copy of the paper is here.

Capital and Conflict: Georgia

In 2010-2011 I directed the Capital and Conflict: Georgia survey in the post-conflict country of Georgia. The sample included 174 foreign firms, 33 of which were owned by members of the Georgian diaspora.  The survey recorded informations on firms' reasons for investing in Georgia, their use of social networks in business, and their engagement in socially responsible behaviors. A white paper describing the survey is available in both English and Georgian. Please contact me if you are interested in the data, I am happy to share it. 

Associated Papers:

Doing Business in the Homeland: Diaspora-Owned Firms and the Value of Social Networks

Diaspora-Owned Firms and Social Responsibility

Allying to Win: Regime Type, Alliance Size, and Victory

Studies of regime type and war reveal that democracies tend to win the wars they fight, but questions remain about why this is the case. A simple, if under- appreciated, explanation is that democracies tend to fight in larger coalitions. We show that democracies have more allies when they go to war, and that states fighting with more allies are more likely to win major contests.  

Associated Paper:

Allying to Win: Regime Type, Alliance Size, and Victory, (with Chris Fariss and Erik Gartzke). An ungated version of the paper is here.