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 core research is on political risk and foreign investment in emerging markets, focusing particularly on the role of diaspora investors and on the ongoing evolution of international property rights.  I also conduct research on federalism, powersharing, and unrecognized states.

In September 2014, my colleague Cesi Cruz and I wrapped up 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.

You can also see my research via my SSRN page, which has all my working papers, or my google scholar profile.

Recent Publications

"Inclusion, Dispersion, and Constraint: Powersharing in the World’s States, 1975-2010." (with Strøm, Kaare, Scott Gates, and Håvard Strand). Forthcoming. British Journal of Political Science.

"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.

A General Model of Political Risk

Political risk deters foreign investment in emerging markets. I work with Noel Johnston and Allison Kingsley to model how different types of political risk affect the behavior of different types of foreign investors. We have several papers in this area, as well as a book manuscript in progress.

Papers with Johnston and Kingsley:

"Even Constrained Governments Steal: The Domestic Politics of Transfer and Expropriation Risks." 2014. Revise and Resubmit at International Organization. 

"The Capital Effects of Information Voids in Emerging Markets" 2014. Under Review.

"A General Model of Political Risk." 2014. Under Review.

Solo-Authored Work:

"Political Risk and New Firm Entry." 


Investing in the Homeland

Emerging markets are typically environments in which social ties -- ties to friends, classmates, extended family, etc -- are important to business. How then, do foreign investors who lack these relationships in the investment host country, gain access to the social connections they need to conduct business successfully? Diasporans, i.e. migrants and their descendents, offer an answer. Diasporans possess "strong ties to distant others," close social ties to individuals in both their homeland and their country of residence.  As both firm owners and firm managers, diasporans can serve to connect foreign investors to social networks in the investment host country.  I examine the role of diasporans in channeling foreign investment into their homeland in several papers, as well as a book manuscript that is in progress.

As part of this project, I have surveyed the managers of foreign firms operating in two emerging markets: Georgia and the Philippines.

A white paper describing the Georgian survey is available in both English and Georgian. Please contact me if you are interested in the data, I am happy to share it. 

The first working paper using the Philippines data should be available shortly.

Associated Papers:

"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. 

Inclusion, Dispersion, and Constraint: The Effects of Powersharing

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 and on democratizaiton and democratic survival. 

Primary Investigators: Scott Gates and Kaare Strom

Other Collaborators: Håvard StrandYonatan Lupu, and Michael Miller.

Associated Papers:

Strøm, Kaare, Scott Gates, Benjamin A.T. Graham, and Håvard Strand.  Forthcoming.  "Inclusion, Dispersion, and Constraint: Powersharing in the World’s States, 1975-2010."  British Journal of Political Science.

Gates, Scott, Benjamin AT Graham, Yonaton Lupu, Håvard Strand, and Kaare Strøm.  2014.  "Powersharing, Protection, and Peace."

Graham, Benjamin A.T., Michael K. Miller, and Kaare W. Strøm.  2014.  "Powersharing and Democratic Development."

Graham, Benjamin A.T., and Kaare W. Strøm.  2014.  "Variations in Federalism: Explaining Subnational Policy Authority."

Bormann, Nils-Christian, Lars-Erik Cederman, Scott Gates, Benjamin AT Graham, Simon Hug, Kaare Strom, and Julian Wucherpfennig.  2014.  "Does Formal or Informal Power Sharing Produce Peace?" 

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 Kristy Buzard and 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." 2014. (with Ben Horne and Kristy Buzard). 

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

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.