Hello and welcome! I am a PhD candidate in the department of political science at UNC-Chapel Hill, with a focus on authoritarian elections, hybrid regimes, and electoral integrity. My primary subfield is comparative politics, and my secondary field is international relations.
The most common form of authoritarianism in the modern world is authoritarianism with elections. Elections in these hybrid, or electoral authoritarian, regimes have been shown to have a variety of stabilizing effects for incumbents, even as organized opposition contestation poses some risks. My research investigates how authoritarian leaders attempt to manage these risks through electoral manipulation. In particular, I emphasize the principal-agent dynamic that occurs between authoritarian leaders who benefit from manipulation, and the low-level actors who must bear the direct costs and legal risks of tampering with the election. Are there conditions under which agents choose not to manipulate on behalf of their bosses, when the costs and risks become too great? If so, does this breakdown in the machinery of manipulation increase incumbents’ risk of facing electoral defeat or large-scale protests?
My dissertation begins to answer these questions using election-forensic analysis of precinct-level election results from Russia, Ukraine and Mexico. I also intend to conduct a nationally representative survey of Russian attitudes toward electoral manipulation, as well as field interviews in several of Russia’s regions.