CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS:
• The Dictator’s Curse? Legacies of Authoritarian Ruling Parties
What are the consequences of authoritarian ruling parties? These parties are a frequent form of authoritarian rule, and when their regimes collapse, some are able to exit power peacefully, and even reinvent themselves as good democrats. Previous research has examined why some parties can successfully reinvent themselves and adapt to democracy. But less is known about the consequences of these strategies of exit and reinvention. This project examines the legacies of authoritarian party exit and transformation for subsequent democratic party competition and governance.
Populist parties and politicians are surging in both developed and new democracies, prompting much analytical and popular concern.There are common concerns of populist movements: the challenge of immigration, the threat of a collapsing traditional labor market, and the perceived lack of elite responsiveness to these concerns. Yet populism takes very different forms, such as left-wing Latin American populism, or its nativist European counterparts. We thus need to know more about the diverse origins and expressions of populism. This project, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, examines why populism has taken such different guises over time and in different countries.
• The Medieval and Religious Roots of the Modern State
What are the origins of the modern state? Canonical accounts argue that wars between states in the early modern era (16-18th centuries) gave rise to the modern state, and transformed Europe from highly fragmented principalities to cohesive nation-states. Yet this fragmentation was no accident: it was the result of deliberate policies of the medieval Church. From the 11th to the 14th centuries, the Church was the single most powerful rival for sovereignty and authority--and at the same time, it was also the source of the administrative solutions, legal templates, and human capital criticla to state formation.
A related project explores how the official pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the state, secular politics, and morality policy have changed over time.