I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Brigham Young University. I teach and research comparative politics with a focus on democracy and authoritarianism. More specifically, I am interested in the role that political parties and militaries play in transitioning from authoritarianism to democracy.
My book project explains why some militaries support democratization. I explain why some militaries set parameters on electoral, legislative, or executive institutions. I argue that militaries do this when their confidence in the ability of civilians to secure their core interests under democracy is low. The military’s confidence in civilians is higher when the military and civilians share a vision of the national project, and when parties allied with the military are institutionalized and electorally strong. I test this argument using mixed-methods, including archival research and elite interviews conducted in Indonesia and Paraguay, and cross-national quantitative data using an original dataset I have created on military behavior during 150 different regime transitions following military-backed authoritarian rule.
My other research looks at the role of authoritarian incumbent parties and their effects on various aspects of democratic development and consolidation. For example, I have working papers under review on how authoritarian incumbent parties affect democratic party system development globally, as well as how these parties restrain former military officers’ political prospects. These papers, along with other papers, can be found in Working Papers. I have begun new projects looking at how militaries affect the formation of competitive authoritarian regimes, how militaries have changed their strategies in constraining civilians over time, and how caretaker military regimes use their power to restructure democracies following coups.
I currently teach BYU’s core course on comparative politics and a course on authoritarianism and democracy. Students can sign up to meet with me here
Please find my CV here.
You can email me at firstname_lastname [at] byu.edu