Research

BOOK PROJECT

Against Business as Usual: Foreign Economic Relations in the Shadow of Emergency Powers.

ARTICLES

▪ Revise & Resubmit at International Organization: “THE EVOLUTION OF SCRUTINY: EXPLAINING THE GLOBAL ADOPTION OF ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING STANDARDS.” (request)
Abstract: How powerful are tools of soft power such as scrutiny and shaming for pushing government leaders to adopt different policies? Skeptics identify a host of pathologies: predominantly superficial or haphazard policy changes; immune countries; limited effects without material coercion. This article uses original event history data on the global spread of anti-money laundering standards to examine how the international monitoring regime’s evolution shaped domestic patterns of policy adoption. It shows that regime reforms – which brought greater routinization, legitimacy, and issue linkage – increased the effects of scrutiny and shaming on the likelihood of not only legal changes but stronger enforcement, even among “weak link” jurisdictions that historically resist financial regulation. By studying the consequences of the anti-money laundering regime over time, this article highlights pathways by which international regimes concerned with illicit flows in other contexts might also mend the regulatory sieve from above.

▪ Under Review: “AGAINST BUSINESS AS USUAL: EXPLAINING CROSS-BORDER FLOWS UNDER EMERGENCY POWERS.” (request)
Abstract: How do national security shocks influence patterns of foreign economic interdependence? This article shows that international flows of money, goods, and people become increasingly malleable as security concerns – and executive power – take center stage in the policy-making process. However, this effect is diluted when industry groups and threatened politicians push back to defend business-as-usual. The article employs extensive original data to assess the consequences of this interplay between international and domestic pressures for bilateral patterns of foreign aid, trade, and migration in the U.S. “War on Terror.” Statistical results and qualitative evidence show that security-economic linkages flourished within domains where domestic dissent was weak but struggled to take hold where domestic dissent was strong. These findings clarify the conditions under which foreign economic interests bend to national security imperatives and challenge widespread assertions that one trumps the other.

▪ Under Review: “DEFENDING OPENNESS IN A TIME OF FEAR: THE INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY OF U.S. VISA ISSUANCE.” (request)
Abstract: How do foreign and domestic policy imperatives shape the issuance of visas to the United States? Millions of people depend on American visas each year, yet international relations scholars have largely ignored their importance. This article examines the effects of commercial diplomacy and national security goals on bilateral visa issuance patterns over time. Challenging the widespread idea that security trumps economic interests, it contends that multinational industries and their government allies have strong incentives to oppose the “securitization” of visa policies. To understand this dynamic, the article traces the bargaining process which diluted the Department of Homeland Security’s control over visa issuance from its very creation after the September 11th attacks. Furthermore, a disaggregated analysis of bilateral visa issuance data shows that U.S. authorities continued to favor people from commercially important countries even as it rushed to shut the door on people from countries linked to security risks. These findings highlight the vital role of agency design in mitigating trade-offs between economic openness and national security.  

▪ “RAISE OR RESIST? EXPLAINING BARRIERS TO TEMPORARY MIGRATION DURING THE GREAT RECESSION.” (request)
Abstract: How do economic downturns affect state barriers to temporary migration? The conventional answer is that rising unemployment fuels backlash against foreign labor, causing politicians to embrace restrictive migration quotas and moratoriums. Yet popular backlash does not fully explain cross-national variation in migration policies during hard times. Leaders also have strong incentives to liberalize migration policies in a skill-biased manner when major clients –especially export-oriented industries– are dependent on migrant flows. Using original data to assess the degree to which 25 destination countries passed policies to control the quantity versus the quality of migrant flows during the Great Recession (2008 to 2011), this paper shows (1) that the relative strength of multinational firms in a given country was associated with the most extensive skill-biased measures for lifting migration barriers during the crisis, (2) while unemployment predictably drove the severity of general quotas. Examining the interaction of these dual forces in Spain, Canada, and the United Kingdom, the paper highlights the state’s ability to pair draconian quotas with targeted measures that prop the door open for business-as-usual. 

▪ “MANIPULATING THE WTO’S LOWEST TIER: THE GENERALIZED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES REVISITED.” (request)
Abstract: Many scholars see the Generalized System of Preferences, which allows developed countries to nonreciprocally confer better-than-“Most Favored Nation” tariffs on select goods from developing countries, as an anachronism of the multilateral trading system. It promises marginal trade benefits yet perversely allows developing countries to escape full WTO obligations. Why has it endured and even grown in some cases? This article explores two interpretations. First, large countries use nonreciprocal trade preferences as a linkage tool to influence smaller countries. Politicians selectively manipulate the GSP to enhance developing country cooperation in non-trade policy arenas. Second, beneficiary industries lobby leaders to perpetuate GSP. Using an original dataset that records each country’s annual “coverage ratio” under the U.S. and E.U. Generalized System of Preferences, this article offers strong evidence in support of the first claim: GSP coverage and expansion is tightly linked to salient non-trade foreign policy goals. Their value as a tool of influence helps to explain why nonreciprocal preferences have been such a resilient feature of world trade.

DATA COLLECTION IN PROGRESS

▪ “The International Political Economy of Visa Reciprocity: When Do Derogations Occur?”
▪ “Taking Pathologies Seriously: Comparing Global Regimes for Curbing Illicit Flows of Money, Goods, and People.”

UNDERGRADUATE HONORS THESIS

“Institutionalization and Legitimacy: Explaining U.S. Adjustment to Allies’  Preferences Across Four Cases of Military Intervention.”
(Winner of the Alona E. Evans Prize in International Law, Duke University)