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Most research in comparative political behavior sees behavior as a consequence of an individual's intrinsic motivations, such as their attitudes or preferences. Building on multidisciplinary literature in social psychology and behavioral economics, my work argues that this view is often ill-founded. Extrinsic motivations, like social norms, can upset the translation of preferences and attitudes into behavior.
       
Much of my research (including my book project) builds on this argument to examine how social norms affect the expression of views and behavior associated with authoritarianism. I argue that recent increases in extremist and anti-democratic behavior cannot be fully explained by individuals' preferences becoming, themselves, more extremist or anti-democratic. A large portion of individuals had long held these preferences, but hid them to avoid judgement and social punishment. Upon feeling that their preferences have become more acceptable, they feel more comfortable acting on what they already thought in private.

 

I am generally interested in how democracies generate social norms against behaviors that are associated with authoritarianism, what the origin of those norms is, and the micro-level mechanisms through which they are enforced. I try to measure these hard-to-grasp concepts with observational data, using original datasets and creative measures.

I also have a keen interest in political science methodology—particularly causal inference. I have taught Causal Inference at the 2023 Oxford Spring School in Advanced Research Method, which I am also scheduled to teach at the 2023 ECPR Summer School on Political Methodology and at a course in the ESRC National Center for Research Methods.

 

You can find a list of my publications, working papers and work currently in progress under Publications.

Please free to get in touch with me if you work on related topics—I would be very happy to hear from you!

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