The Political Economy of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: An Exploratory Analysis” (with Alan Sykes) - Journal of Legal Analysis, forthcoming

    • Abstract: Critics of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) have frequently claimed that it puts U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage. This critique suggests that the beneficiaries of FCPA enforcement are foreign competitors of U.S. firms, and foreign economies that suffer fewer inefficiencies associated with corruption. Yet enforcement of the Act has increased drastically since it first passed in the post-Watergate, anti-corruption era. If the FCPA really promotes foreign interests over the interests of U.S. firms doing business abroad, and if there are no obvious domestic beneficiaries of aggressive enforcement, why have domestic business interests been unable to push back successfully against growing enforcement? This paper suggests three reasons why the adverse effects of FCPA enforcement on U.S. business may be considerably smaller than some FCPA critics suggest, and why significant numbers of U.S. firms may actually benefit from enforcement. Our hypotheses find support in Congressional testimony, business surveys, and interviews with prominent FCPA practitioners and compliance officers.

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

    • Abstract: Targeted killing has been heralded as one of the most effective methods for reducing the terrorist threat in the Middle East, yet its legality remains a point of controversy. At issue is the question of whether the United States is, or even can be, at war with al-Qaeda, as a state’s recourse to violence is severely restricted under international law in the absence of such a war. This paper analyzes the three main frameworks under which America’s lethal actions have been evaluated: law enforcement, armed con ict, and self-defense. It concludes that while the United States has a legitimate claim to self-defense against these terrorist networks, targeted killing as currently practiced by the Obama administration cannot be justi ed under international law.

    Working Papers

    "For Safety or Profit? The Determinants of Global Health and Safety Regulations" - Job Market Paper

    • Abstract: This paper provides evidence that innovative multinational firms attempt to use health and safety regulations to eliminate cheaper, generic products from the market, even when they themselves produce those products. Stricter regulations on generic products allow innovative firms to shift the market to patented alternatives, while forcing out generic producers. Firms are able to win these preferential regulatory outcomes at both national and international levels of governance, despite the fact that these outcomes create trade barriers and tilt the playing field in favor of companies in developed nations. I utilize original data from the agrochemical sector to provide evidence that agrochemical producers request stricter standards on their own products when it could help them sell patented alternatives. Using longitudinal data on actual regulatory change at both national and international levels I find that regulatory institutions seemingly set up to protect consumers also appear to have helped innovative firms win preferential outcomes. My findings highlight some of the unexplored ways in which companies erect international barriers to competition.

    The Domestic Impact of International Pesticide Standards” - Under Review 

    • Abstract: 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, few studies examine 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 US regulations between 1996 and 2015, the study explores whether international standards have led to a weakening or strengthening of domestic rules. It finds that, contrary to the fears of many scholars, international standards have not pushed the United States towards laxity but instead have, if anything, led to stricter domestic regulations overall. The results not only contribute to the broader literature on the domestic effects of globalization, they also allay concerns that international standards could serve primarily as a regulatory ceiling, encouraging nations to sacrifice caution for economic gain.

    “The Politics of Labeling: Modeling Consumers and Firms in an International Economy”

    • Abstract: This paper provides a new framework for understanding regulatory outcomes in the area of consumer goods. I present a simple model, which shows that when consumers care about product quality but are unable to differentiate high and low quality goods, higher quality producers will have an incentive to lobby the government for mandatory labeling laws. At the same time, producers of lower quality goods will want to lobby against such labels, as the absence of full information allows them to free-ride on the reputation of the higher quality producers. In a departure from standard theories of regulation, I account not only for firm interests but also for the role of consumers. In addition, the model introduces international dynamics, showing how the labeling laws of a major trading partner can change domestic firms' utility functions, at times resulting in a regulatory outcome that would not have otherwise occurred. Finally, the model demonstrates that consumers' ability to influence regulation need not be constrained by collective action problems. This suggests that the frequent assumption of consumer irrelevance in determining regulatory outcomes has often been overstated in the literature.

    In Progress

    “Trade Preferences for the Modern Age: Weighing Free Trade Against Regulation” (with Elisabeth van Lieshout)

    “The Geography of the New Nationalism” (with Judith Goldstein)