Associate Professor of Political Science


Exploring institutional structure and strategic conflict.

Peer-Reviewed Publications


Oil Discoveries, Civil War, and Preventive State Repression (with Peter Carey, Curtis Bell, and Scott Wolford). Conditionally accepted for publication at the Journal of Peace Research.

Contentious Compliance: Dissent and Repression under International Human Rights Law (with Courtenay R. Conrad). 2019. Oxford University Press. 

  • Website with details, highlights, and incoming information about the book manuscript

  • Reviews: International Organization

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  • A press release from Vanderbilt explaining the main findings

  • Blog post applying this research to Trump's proposed "moratorium" on international treaties for the Monkey Cage

A President Principal and Immigration Agents: A Moral Hazard. 2018. PS: Political Science & Politics 51 (1):17-25.

  • Part of a Spotlight symposium on repression policies under the Trump Administration.

Preventing and Responding to Dissent: The Observational Challenges of Explaining Strategic Repression (with Courtenay R. Conrad). 2016. American Political Science Review 110 (1): 85-99.

National Leaders, Political Survival, and Interstate Coalitions (with Scott Wolford). 2016. International Studies Quarterly 60 (3): 540-551.

Human Rights Treaties and Mobilized Dissent against the State (with Courtenay R. Conrad). 2016. Review of International Organizations 11 (4): 449-475.

Contagious Rebellion and Preemptive Repression (with Nathan Danneman). 2014. Journal of Conflict Resolution58 (2): 254-279.

Emigrants and the Onset of Civil War (with Gina Lei Miller). 2014. Journal of Peace Research 51 (1): 51-64.

Policy Disputes, Political Survival, and the Onset and Severity of State Repression. 2014. Journal of Conflict Resolution 58 (1): 143-168. 

Treaties, Tenure, and Torture: The Conflicting Domestic Effects of International Law (with Courtenay R. Conrad). 2013. The Journal of Politics 75 (2): 397-409.

Bargaining and the Effectiveness of International Criminal Regimes (with Scott Wolford). 2012. Journal of Theoretical Politics 24 (2): 149-171. 

  • Blog post applying the research to Seif al-Islam Qaddafi's interactions with the ICC for the Monkey Cage

  • Blog post applying the research to the possibility of clemency in exchange for al-Assad's cooperation with a peaceful solution for Syria for the Monkey Cage



Book Review of How Social Movements Die: Repression and Demobilization of the Republic of New Africaby Christian Davenport. 2017. Perspectives on Politics 15 (3): 907-908.

International Humanitarian Law in Civil War. 2014. Chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars, edited by Edward Newman and Karl DeRouen, Jr. New York: Routledge.

Other Publications

What I cannot create, I cannot understand.
— Richard Feynman, 1988

Ongoing Projects

Insufficient Danger: Estimating the Effect of Women’s Protest and Threat on Human Rights Violations (with Chara Lynn, Vanderbilt Undergraduate Researcher)

Updating and Uprising: Repression, Dissent, and Perceptions of Government Legitimacy (with Jessica Maves Braithwaite). 

Autonomy, Power, and Executive Constraint: Domestic Courts and State Repression. 

The Life Cycle of International Institutions. Project development funded by the Hellman Faculty Fund, 2017-2018.

Local or Loyal? Agency Problems and Preventive vs. Reactive Repression (with Ian Turner).

Transitional Justice, Agent Expectations, and Sexual Violence. (with Courtenay Conrad).

The Evolution of International Institutions (with Heidi Hardt and Peter Carey, and assistance from the ROCCA Lab).

  • Grant proposal for NSF funding submitted for review in January 2019 cycle.

Prospects & Protests, Repression & Risk (with Elaine Denny).

A Migrant’s Prospects (with Elaine Denny).

Outsourcing Repression (with Courtenay Conrad and Jessica Trounstine).

Suicide Prevention Message Delivery Project (with Sidra Goldman-Mellor and A. Susana Ramirez). 

`Contrariwise,’ said Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.’
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, 1871