Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, Mississippi State University

Selected Publications


Selected Publications

Political Science.jpeg

When the choice is made matters: voting in Japan’s 2012 House of Representatives election

Forthcoming, With Timothy S. Rich

What influences the timing of vote choices in mixed-member systems and to what extent does this influence split-ticketing voting? Although voters cast both ballots in effect simultaneously, they may make their decisions on which candidate and party to support sequentially. Using Japan’s 2012 election as a case study, empirical analyses find that the district nominations influence the timing of one’s district vote intention. Meanwhile the timing of vote choices corresponds with ticket-splitting, even after controlling for partisan and socio-economic factors.


Behavioral and Experimental Economics.jpeg

Political Leanings and Social Capital

With Anand Jha and Christopher J. Boudreaux

The research shows that the political leanings and social capital of the region around firms’ headquarters affect corporate and individual decisions. What remains unexplored is whether social capital and political leanings are associated with each other. To fill this gap, we use the ratio of votes cast for Democratic candidates to those cast for Republican candidates in presidential elections to measure the Democratic political leanings in the United States. We find that counties with more social capital lean toward the Democratic Party. A one standard deviation increase in social capital is associated with a 0.30 standard deviation increase in the vote ratio. Additional tests show that this positive association is stronger in counties that have higher incomes and less religiosity.
Asian Affairs.jpeg

Inequality and Elections: The Nationwide Origins and State-Level Dynamics of India's Maoist Insurgency

With Srobana Bhattacharya and Anand Jha

This article investigates the causes of India's Maoist insurgency and its changing dynamics. To explain its origins, we empirically test three hypotheses using cross-state-level data: inequality of wealth in states; inefficient state government; and, disgruntled provocateurs. Our analysis reveals that insurgency is caused by inequality of wealth in states, not inefficient state governments and disgruntled provocateurs. Subsequently, we study variations in the number of Maoist attacks and the selected targets in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal using newspaper reports of events. Our analysis demonstrates that the numbers of incidents and the type of targets selected depend on electoral competition between regional political parties and their interactions with Maoists. The findings, therefore, indicate that whereas inequality of wealth can explain the insurgency's presence in states, political competition within states could explain its dynamics.

Lesotho’s 2015 Legislative Election: Providing or Undermining Stability?

With Timothy S. Rich

Political unrest in 2014 threatened Lesotho’s newly found democratic stability. Observers focus on educating the public about the electoral system and encouraging pre-election coalition discussions. However, this analysis suggests that such remedies ignore the institutional influences of Lesotho’s electoral system that undermine both public understanding and stability. Furthermore, a statistical analysis of district competition finds the 2015 elections to be largely consistent with previous elections, but that the percentage of rejected ballots correlates with a district victory for the largest party. Although this may simply be a statistical anomaly, the findings highlight structural challenges and reconsideration of electoral reforms.

District level competition in Mexico’s chamber of deputies: an embedded analysis

With Timothy S. Rich

Why does Mexico’s mixed legislative system diverge from Duverger’s Law? Rather than rehash cultural and historical explanations, we suggest two institutional factors – a fused ballot and compulsory voting laws – may explain this divergence. Cross-national evidence controlling for these factors suggests Mexico is not an outlier and that the fused ballot encourages multiparty district competition. The results also suggest ways reforms could bring competition closer toward Duvergerian expectations.

“District Competition in Japan’s 2014 Election: The Roles of Nominations, Incumbency, and Dual-Listing.”

With Timothy S. Rich

Duverger’s Law expects two-party competition in single member districts (SMDs), but evidence from mixed member systems is less consistent with these theoretical expectations. Rather than simply focusing on whether Japan’s most recent House of Representatives election converges toward Duvergerian equilibrium, this article focuses on three factors within Japan. In particular, how do the roles of major party nominations, incumbency, and dual-listing shape district competition vis-à-vis Duverger? Empirical results find that the lack of a Democratic Party of Japan candidate decreases the effective number of candidates, while the lack of a Liberal Democratic Party candidate, multiple incumbents, and dual-listing correlates with an increased number of candidates. The results suggest that often ignored underlying effects of Japan’s mixed system influences its consistency with theoretical expectations.

The Religious Origins of Class Coalitions: Elite Participation in Religiously Motivated Peasant Rebellions in Mexico, Zimbabwe, and India

This article explains why elite classes participate in religiously motivated peasant rebellions. This question is important because, although elite resources are required to overcome collective action barriers, extant research ignores why elites collaborate in religiously motivated peasant rebellions. The article compares the Moplah Rebellion in colonial India, the Cristero Rebellion in revolutionary Mexico, and the Chimurenga Rebellion in white-controlled Zimbabwe to test three common explanations for elite participation: low inequality between elites and peasants; moderate political repression or opportunity; and shared religious organizations with the peasantry. The findings demonstrate that elite cooperation is critically contingent on shared religion because it creates cross-class ideologies and lowers the costs of participation by elites. However, the effects of inequality of wealth and political opportunities are inconclusive. By doing so, the article introduces a theory of elite participation that can be tested and refined to understand ongoing religiously motivated rebellions in agrarian societies as disparate as Pakistan, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

Regime Type or Political Instability? Why Pakistan Deescalates or Enters Wars

With Prashant Hosur

The Indo-Pakistani rivalry is among the most hostile in the world today. This paper provides a new explanation for why we observe variation in hostility levels in this rivalry. This article studies the effects of different regimes--civilian, military, or mixed--and political stability in Pakistan on the decisions to enter into or de-escalate from crises with India. The findings demonstrate that Pakistan deescalates from crises if politically stable and enters wars if politically unstable. However, the effects of regime type, civilian, military, or mixed, are inconclusive. The paper shifts the focus from regime type to regime stability.

Running Out of Time? The Evolution of Taiwan’s Relations in Africa

With Timothy S. Rich

This article highlights the precarious nature of Taiwan’s diplomatic relations in Africa. Whereas Cold War rationales initially benefitted Taiwan, economic interests now appear to incentivize African countries to establish relations with China. Through qualitative and quantitative data covering much of the post-World War II era, this analysis argues that economic factors have trumped political ration-ales for Taiwanese–African relations. In addition, this article prob-lematizes both conceptions of diplomatic recognition and Taiwan’s enduring relations with Africa.

Identifying the Institutional Effects of Mixed Systems in New Democracies: The Case of Lesotho

with Timothy S. Rich and Sterling Recker

This paper addresses the effects of the mixed system used for the last three elections in Lesotho (2002, 2007 and 2012), a small African country with a turbulent history regarding opposition acceptance of elections. The decision to implement a mixed system was in part to encourage democratic stability, yet whether the electoral system has become more conducive to democratic competition is unclear. Through an analysis of national and district-level results, this paper addresses the following questions. First, at the district level, is competition consistent with Duverger’s law or the contamination thesis and is a progression over time evident? Second, does the population size of a district influence the number of candidates and the concentration of votes? Finally, following recent research on detecting electoral fraud, this paper tackles whether the reports of district results suggest extra-institutional manipulation.