Research agenda

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 would not act on them by fear of social sanctions. Upon feeling that their preferences have become more acceptable, they become more likely to publicly act 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.

 

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

Apart from my work in political science, I am a jazz musician and I am actively engaged in supporting incoming refugees. Please visit the dedicated page to learn more about these activities.

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