DISSERTATION & BOOK MANUSCRIPT
▪ Dissertation: “Discretion and Constraint in Post-9/11 U.S. Foreign Policy.”
Committee: Helen Milner (chair), Robert Keohane, Christina Davis, Andrew Moravcsik.
Abstract: The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks catalyzed powerful pressures for strategic reorientation across many channels of U.S. foreign policy, yet the scholarly and vast popular literature about this juncture focuses almost exclusively on the use of force. This dissertation argues that the post-9/11 presidential reach for power extended far beyond conventional security policy as a result of issue-linkages forged amidst the “War on Terror.” Specifically, the president wanted greater discretionary authority to align foreign economic policies with shifting bilateral security goals. With respect to regulatory issues, the president wanted to tighten government scrutiny over cross-border flows of funds, goods, and people. These security motivations interacted with extant domestic coalitions and economic interests, producing differential lines of resistance. Using original data, statistical analysis, and in-depth case studies, I test this argument’s observable implications across four issue-areas: (1) U.S. foreign aid allocation and (2) the administration of trade preferences, both areas that involved status quo legislative constraints on executive authority; (3) visa issuance, in which organizational processes inhibited change from above; and (4) international anti-money laundering, in which organizations outside of the U.S. government wielded considerable authority. View a Chapter Overview (pdf).
▪ Book Manuscript: Against Business as Usual: Power and Economic Interdependence in the Shadow of Emergencies.
ARTICLES & WORKING PAPERS
▪ Working Paper: “On the Reach and Limits of Executive Power: Explaining Patterns of Post-9/11 U.S. Foreign Economic Policy.” (pdf)
Abstract: How does the expansion of presidential foreign policy authority during security crises influence patterns of foreign economic policy? This article focuses on the interaction of two countervailing theoretical arguments. First, the president’s capacity to garner domestic support for heightened discretion over foreign economic policy generally increases when economic issues can be credibly linked to shifting security priorities. Second, ideological and economically-motivated resistance within Congress and among interest groups constrains the president from forging economic-security linkages. The empirical implications of each argument are tested statistically in the parallel contexts of U.S. foreign aid and the administration of nonreciprocal trade preferences, both of which gained salience after the September 11, 2001 attacks as tools for fostering bilateral support in the “War on Terror.” Using a new panel dataset, I find robust evidence that foreign aid allocation and eligibility for nonreciprocal trade preferences have been strategically tied to U.S. demands for informal security cooperation among developing countries. I also show how domestic constraints differed in the aid channel, where the president largely sidestepped Congressional oversight, versus the trade channel, in which import-competing industries severely inhibited the president’s linkage strategy vis-à-vis important allies like Pakistan. Beyond the post-9/11 era, the article sheds light on the pathways by which executive power reaches into foreign economic affairs and its limits.
▪ Under Review: “A Fragile Balance: How Security and Commerce Shape U.S. Visa Policy.” (pdf)
Abstract: Although the issuance of visas to the United States affects millions of people each year, international relations scholars have largely ignored this significant tool of foreign policy. Visas are a key component of diplomacy, foreign economic policy, and – as the September 11th attacks underscored – a neglected frontline of national security. To what extent have policymakers been able to harness visas in the service of multiple, sometimes conflicting goals? This article challenges the conventional wisdom that U.S. visa policy since 9/11 is best explained according to the logic of shock and securitization. Rather, the argument stresses the role of countervailing preferences. Economically-motivated coalitions that steadfastly pushed for “business-as-usual” have served as a vital buttress against the high tides of securitization. A case study of executive and legislative decision-making concerning the choice to divide authority over visa policy among agencies, in the context of the Homeland Security Act, illustrates how lawmakers under significant pressure to strengthen national security were nevertheless invested in seeking compromise. Furthermore, new disaggregated data on bilateral nonimmigrant visas between 1997 and 2010 shows that the post-9/11 U.S. visa regime was indeed pulled in two directions: Tougher restrictions targeting higher-risk countries combined with accommodating treatment for friendly countries, especially close trading partners.
▪ Under Review: “Mending a Sieve: The International Adoption of Anti-Money Laundering Standards.” (pdf)
Abstract: Reflecting financial globalization, efforts to conceal the origins of illicit funds often entail transactions across multiple jurisdictions. Since the early 1990s, a regulatory club of OECD countries has worked through government networks to promulgate international anti-money laundering standards. The 9/11 attacks enhanced security rationales for strengthening this regime beyond the OECD because the U.S. saw international anti-money laundering as an ideal channel for combating terrorist financing. This paper describes how global regulatory strategy evolved as a consequence of this linkage and specifies three sets of hypotheses based on a functionalist account of external pressure, asymmetric interdependence, and domestic constraints to explain variation in the adoption of policy standards across time and countries. The hypotheses are tested using an original event history dataset that records when countries adopted standardized laws and monitoring practices. Consistent with a functionalist explanation, the results indicate that jurisdictions with a history of financial under-supervision have been associated with an increased likelihood of standards adoption. Reliance on foreign sources of funding, namely IMF loans, also increases the likelihood of adoption. These findings highlight the potency of U.S.-led collaborative efforts to mend the sieve of financial scrutiny on a more global scale.
▪ Working Paper: “Raise or Resist? Explaining Government Barriers to Temporary Migration during the Global Recession.” (pdf)
Abstract: Numerous studies show that rising unemployment fuels negative sentiment toward migrants, which is why immigration restrictions tend to increase in hard times. This paper argues that the conventional wisdom is not sufficient to explain how and why government policies toward temporary migration varied in response to the Great Recession. The effects of “popular backlash” on the form of government barriers to migration need to be distinguished from the increasingly salient effects of “client politics.” With popular backlash, leaders face heightened pressures to raise transparent, encompassing barriers, such as reduced quotas and moratoriums, when economic conditions deteriorate. With client politics, leaders face selective pressures to resist or lower barriers to migration in a skill-biased manner when key industries expect continued dependence on foreign workers. Empirically, the paper analyzes an original dataset measuring the degree to which 25 destination countries passed policies to control the quantity and quality of migrant inflows from 2008 to 2011. The findings provide robust evidence that popular backlash shaped the severity of quotas while multinational businesses influenced the extent of skill-biased measures designed to keep key migration channels open. A typology of migration policy outcomes clarifies how these dual pressures interacted differentially in Spain, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Perhaps the most striking feature of migration policy-making in hard times is the capacity of politicians in some countries to pair draconian restrictions on overall migration levels with reforms that make it easier to prop the door open for industry.
▪ “Discipline on the Waterfront? Economic Globalization and Collective Labor Rights beyond the OECD.”
▪ “Institutionalization and Legitimacy: Explaining U.S. Adjustment to Allies’ Preferences Across Four Cases of Military Intervention.”(Undergraduate Honors Thesis, Winner of the Alona E. Evans Prize in International Law, Duke University)