300 Fisher Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Politics at Princeton University. My dissertation, “Trade Policy in the Shadow of Power,” seeks to understand how military coercion affects the structure of the international economy – who is rich, who is poor, and who trades with whom. In another line of research, I study exchange and violence in black markets. I am a graduate fellow affiliated with the Program in Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS) at Princeton and teach the Politics Department’s summer math course for incoming graduate students, along with Daniel Gibbs. Before coming to Princeton I worked at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington D.C. and studied Political Science and Peace, War, & Defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Gunboat Diplomacy: Political Bias, Trade Policy, and War
Last updated 9 April 2019
Countries with deep trading relationships rarely fight wars with one another. Here, I develop a theory of trade, war, and political bias, in which both trade and war are endogenous objects. Governments can rectify poor market access conditions abroad through war and subsequent regime change, in which the victorious country installs a liberal “puppet” government abroad. Trade policy bargaining is therefore conducted “in the shadow of power,” with counterfactual wars shaping the policy choices that prevail in times of peace. When peace prevails, militarily weak countries are more open to trade than powerful ones, all else equal. Equilibrium trade policies balance domestic interests against military threats from abroad. War is less likely between liberal governments because they prefer less protectionist trade policies. As a result, trade flows and the probability of peace are positively correlated in equilibrium, even though trade does not cause peace.
- Estimating Policy Barriers to Trade
Last updated 3 May 2019
To what extent is international trade free and fair? Because policy barriers to trade are often opaque and take on many forms, it is difficult to answer this question while relying on data on observable trade barriers. Here, I propose and implement a structural approach to estimating the magnitude of policy barriers to trade, measured at the trade partner level. The method allows for the possibility that these barriers are both asymmetric and discriminatory, affecting certain trade partners disproportionately. The approach reveals substantial latent policy barriers to trade, many times larger than observed tariffs. It also implies substantial effective policy discrimination, with exporters in subset of favored countries enjoying far superior market access conditions than their peers in unfavored countries. Combined, these results suggest that the existing world trading system remains far from a free and fair ideal.
Works in Progress
- Trade Policy in the Shadow of Power: Quantifying Military Coercion in the International System
In international relations, how does latent military coercion affect governments’ policy choices? Because militarily powerful governments can credibly threaten to impose their policy preferences by force, weaker governments may adjust their policy choices to avoid costly conflict. This setting raises an inference problem – do observed policies reflect the preferences of the governments that adopted them or the military constraints of the anarchic international system? Here, I investigate the role of this “shadow of power” in determining trade policy. Specifically, I build a model of trade policy choice under threat that allows me to measure empirically governments’ underlying trade policy preferences and the magnitude of policy appeasement attributable to latent military coercion. Once estimated, the model can be used to conduct counterfactual experiments – such as assessing the international economic effects of Chinese military growth or the military strategic effects of Chinese political liberalization. These and other exercises shed light on how military power affects international economic exchange, and how expectations about exchange affect governments’ military strategies.
- Prohibition, Theft, and Violence: Monopolistic Pricing and Exchange in Illicit Markets
- Gunshots and Turf Wars: Inferring Gang Territories from Shooting Reports
with Noam Reich
- Market Structure, Military Coercion, and the International Politics of Oil Production
Summer 2018, Summer 2019
Co-taught with Dan Gibbs
- POL 240 / WWS 312: International Relations (Preceptor)
Professor: Andrew Moravcsik
- POL 387: International Intervention and the Use of Force (Preceptor)
Professor: Melissa Lee
- ENG 102: Introduction to Literary Analysis
Princeton Prison Teaching Initiative (PTI), Garden State Youth Correctional Facility
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Carolina Students Taking Academic Responsibility Through Teaching (C-START) Program
R code to calculate distances between historical capital cities, 1816-present
R code to read, clean, and count international dyadic event data