I study technology, innovation, and the role of money and other resources in political competition.
My working papers:
Political Competition and Investment Allocation
International Competition and Technology Diffusion, with Helen V. Milner
The Politics of Ethnic Inequality, with Rachael McLellan
We demonstrate the importance of the distribution of land between ethnic groups in shaping political development. We argue and show that the concentration of resources, here as measured by the cumulative agricultural potential of ethnic homelands – which we call soil power – makes it easier to form stable ruling coalitions. Where political resources are highly fragmented between groups, coalitions are less secure. Ruling elites therefore have a greater incentive to impose narrow, repressive institutions to retain power and are more likely to face armed challenges to their rule. To test our argument, we leverage the natural experiment of the African borders drawn at the Berlin Conference. We find that higher concentration of power leads to better quality institutions, less civil war and higher levels of economic development. We find similar relationships globally, and that African countries are low-concentration outliers.
The Military Technology Data Set
The US Patent Data Set