About My Work

My research focuses on the politics of education in the developing world. Specifically, I study how choices with regards to the education sector are the result of interactions between the political alignments of interest groups and electoral incentives. A second area of research of mine is political economy. To investigate these topics, I make use of mixed quantitative and qualitative methods, including interviews, archival work, large-N statistical work, and survey experiments. My newer area of focus is mis and disinformation in rich democracies.

Democracy, Rural Inequality, and Education Spending

Much research suggests democracies invest more in human capital formation than dictatorships. In particular, scholars have suggested that democracies outspend autocracies on education, due to electoral and interest group pressure. However, some democracies spend no more on education - and some spend much less - than autocracies. What explains this variation within democracies? The answer is the influence of landed agricultural elites. Urban industrial elites support human capital investment because it leads to higher rates of return even if wages increase. Yet greater education spending encourages out-migration from the countryside, reducing the supply and increasing the price of agricultural labor. Given the differential impact of education spending across economic sectors, the effect of democracy on education spending may be conditional on the power of landed elites. We test this argument in two ways. First, we run a series of time series cross sectional regressions on data from 107 countries for the period 1970 to 2000. Second, we conduct a difference-in-difference analysis, comparing countries that democratize at high versus low levels of land inequality, for 73 countries for the same time period. Results confirm a negative relationship between the power of landed elites and investment in public education under democracy, adding important and novel insight into the sources of differences in public-goods spending and human capital investment both within across political regimes.

Closing the Gender Gap? How Altmetrics Influence Citation Counts for Political Science Journal Articles

Gendered citation patterns in political science resemble those in many other disciplines (e.g., economics, sociology, linguistics, ecology) and show a tendency for men/mixed gender author teams to cite research by women less frequently than women authors. This citation behavior generates a citation gender gap for traditional citation metrics (e.g., citation counts, h-index). These dynamics contributed to the development of Altmetrics, one measure that captures the quantity and quality of online attention to research in multiple outlets such as news coverage, blog posts, and social media. These non-academic venues enable scholars to promote their work more actively to broad audiences. Given that women academics are as active on social media as men, Altmetrics may display fewer gender gaps. However, whether these new measures translate into better research impact using traditional citation metrics remains unclear. Our paper analyzes the relationship between Altmetrics scores (and Tweet counts) in 2017 and citations in 2021 for 8,493 articles in 21 political science journals while controlling for authors’ gender. Consistent with previous literature, we find that higher online attention scores significantly increase articles’ citation counts. We also find that solo authored pieces show the strongest marginal effects, and that solo women and women author teams accrue more citations as Altmetrics scores increase. Our results suggest that online promotion of political science research will help to shrink the gender citation gap.