Peer-Reviewed Articles

"For Safety or Profit? How Science Serves the Strategic Interests of Private Actors" American Journal of Political Science. Forthcoming.

The Political Economy of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: An Exploratory Analysis” (with Alan Sykes) Journal of Legal Analysis 9.2 (2017): 153-182. 

Working Papers

“The Domestic Impact of International Standards” R&R at International Studies Quarterly

  • Regulations are no longer a purely national affair. International standards now exist across a broad range of regulatory arenas, including those that may be central to domestic values, such as the regulation of health, safety, and the environment. Although a number of studies have looked at the domestic impact of globalization more generally, we continue to know very little about the effects of international standards, specifically. This paper investigates this issue, with an empirical focus on the regulation of pesticides. Using original data on changes to U.S. regulations between 1996 and 2015, the study identifies whether international standards have led to a weakening or strengthening of domestic rules. It finds that contrary to common fears, there is no evidence that international standards have pushed the United States towards laxity. The results not only contribute to the broader literature on the domestic effects of globalization, but they allay concerns that international standards could serve primarily as a regulatory ceiling, encouraging nations to sacrifice caution for economic gain.

“Exerting Influence Through Information: How Private Actors Win Preferential Policies Internationally" [email for latest draft]

  • A commonly cited benefit of policymaking at the international level is that it reduces the ability of special interests to benefit themselves at the expense of the greater good. Indeed, international agreements are often viewed as an intentional hands-tying device by governments seeking to free themselves from domestic political pressures. Yet the belief that international policy setting is insulated from domestically influential groups rests on the assumption that the mechanism of influence is specific to a national setting. What happens when these groups' influence stems not from their political clout but rather from their informational advantages? I argue that under these circumstances we should not expect international actors to perform any better than their domestic counterparts. In order to test this, I empirically evaluate the ability of agrochemical firms to win preferential outcomes domestically and internationally. I introduce a dataset that quantifies changes to thousands of agrochemical regulations across two decades, both in the U.S. and at the international, standard-setting level. I show that due to agrochemical companies' monopoly on relevant information, these actors have been as successful at winning their preferred regulatory outcomes internationally as they have domestically. My findings offer a counter to the claim that moving decisions to the international level is an effective strategy for reducing the influence of special interest groups.

“Covert Confiscation: How Regimes Differ in Their Strategies of Expropriation” (with Jane Esberg) [email for latest draft]

  • A substantial literature concludes that democracies are less likely to expropriate foreign direct investment (FDI) than autocracies. However, little attention has been paid to the strategies of expropriation regimes employ. We theorize that when democracies expropriate, they ought to utilize different methods than their autocratic counterparts. Using a dataset containing all expropriations of FDI that occurred in developing countries between 1960 and 2007, we show that rather than rely on outright nationalization, democracies are more likely to use methods such as forced sale or contract renegotiation, tools which are harder to detect, easier to justify, and may not require formal legislative approval. In fact, while democracies may be less likely than autocracies to nationalize foreign investment, they seem to be as likely as autocracies to engage in more subtle forms of confiscation. Our findings suggest that by bundling types of expropriation, scholars may be overlooking important differences in regime strategies.

"All About the Money? Regulatory Provisions and Trade Preferences" (with Elisabeth van Lieshout) [email for latest draft]

  • Trade agreements now increasingly include chapters on regulatory cooperation and harmonization, pushing what used to be a purely domestic issue to the forefront of the public debate over economic globalization. Yet public opinion research has only just begun to account for the rising role of regulation in economic integration. As a result, we cannot know whether the inclusion of regulatory provisions has an independent effect on the public support of free trade that goes beyond these provisions' impact on the overall flow of goods. Moreover, to the extent that an independent effect exists, the extant literature on free trade sheds little light on what the mechanism might be. We evaluate these questions using a conjoint and two vignette experiments embedded in original surveys fielded in the United States and the Netherlands. Our results provide two key conclusions. First, individuals do care about the regulatory provisions of trade agreements, independent of their economic effects. In other words, public support for or opposition to regulatory commitments is not solely a function of these commitments' trade effects. Second, the primary driver of preferences is not a desire for fairness or sovereign independence. Rather, individuals seem to care about regulatory provisions purely for their own sake. Our findings suggest that as trade agreements continue to incorporate broader commitments on policy, scholars need to better account for the multidimensionality of trade preferences.

Book Project

Precaution in the Private Interest 

Other Publications

“Targeted Killings: Does Drone Warfare Violate International Law?” Journal of Public and International Affairs (2011): 68-87.