Research

Dissertation

Interethnic Domestic Alliances

(Committee: Milada Anna Vachudova (chair), Liesbet Hooghe, Cecilia Martinez-Gallardo, Rahsaan Maxwell, and Graeme Robertson)

My dissertation project seeks to understand the formation of governing coalitions in countries where the party system is divided along ethnic lines. In countries where politics are ethnically divided, minorities can be excluded from involvement in political processes at the national level. Thus, inclusion in coalitions provides the potential opportunity for meaningful involvement in decision making. Yet, we see variation in the inclusion of ethnic minority parties in governing coalitions after democratic transitions. In some cases, the minority party is immediately asked to join coalitions. In others, the minority party is initially excluded, but is later invited to participate in governments. And finally, there remains a set of cases in which ethnic minority political parties have never been asked to join coalitions, leading to continued exclusion.

Understanding why in some cases ethnic majority parties consider ethnic minority parties to be viable coalition partners while in others they are repeatedly excluded will give us greater insight into how ethnic majorities and minorities relate to one another in nation-states. I argue that the key variable to understanding this relationship is the role of the minority’s kin state. When a kin state is a vocal supporter of its co-ethnics abroad, ethnic majority parties become weary of aligning themselves with a potentially threatening minority group. I explore the differences between ethnic minority and ethnic majority parties, demonstrating that with the removal of perceived kin state threat, ethnic minority parties are indeed an appealing choice for parties from the ethnic majority seeking to form a government.

Papers under review

Individual Support for the Euro in EU Candidate States – Revise & Resubmit

(Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Jan. 2016; Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, March 2016)

How do the EU’s future citizens decide whether or not they support the euro? This study examines the formation of monetary policy preferences by individual people to understand if they are based on egocentric or sociotropic considerations. Four competing hypotheses rooted in economic, identity, and two support theories are tested within the context of opinion towards the European common currency by individuals residing in European Union candidate states. This article presents two important findings: an individual’s preference for the euro is based on how they feel about their country joining the EU in general, and also whether they feel that EU membership will bring them individual benefits. Thus, I find support for both sociotropic and egocentric theories of what determines individual support for adopting the common currency. Although the literature often presents egocentric and sociotropic preferences as mutually exclusive, I find that this is not always the case. Using 2003 survey data from the set of post-communist states that joined the EU in 2004, this study reveals how individuals assess the loss of domestic monetary policy autonomy in the context of democratic transition.

Working papers

Ethnic Minority Political Parties and Voter Accountability

(Association for the Study of Nationalities World Conference, May 2017)

Are ethnic minority parties held accountable by voters for their participation in governing coalitions in the same way as parties drawing votes from the ethnic majority? Previous literature has shown that incumbents in post-communist East-Central Europe are routinely punished at the ballot box, particularly in the face of poor economic performance. However, it remains to be seen if ethnic minority political parties are equally punished by voters when they join coalitions. Due to unique characteristics of ethnic minority parties, including weakly held substantive positions and low voter expectations, I expect that ethnic minority parties are less likely to be punished than their fellow coalition members. This paper takes a look at voting data for twenty governments in three countries with ethnic minority political representation in parliament, and finds that ethnic minority parties are generally rewarded for government participation despite regional hyperaccountability for incumbents. These findings are further explored using a dataset of electoral results for governing parties between 2000-2015 and economic data at the NUTS3 level in Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia, finding that ethnic minority parties are indeed more immune for government performance than their fellow coalition members.

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