My research interests lie at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. Broadly, I am a conflict scholar. More specifically, my expertise resides in the areas of foreign policy and decision-making, nuclear proliferation and nonproliferation, and how external inducements can compel leaders to reverse on a range of issues from nuclear weapons to human rights abuses.


Current Research:

The Power of the Positive: Effectiveness of Positive Inducements in Counterproliferation, Under review

Under what conditions do leaders of states reverse nuclear ambitions? Does the international community play a role in nuclear reversals, and if so, what strategies are most effective at inducing reversal? Roughly three-fourths of the states that began nuclear weapons programs have reversed their ambitions. To explain this pervasive phenomenon, previous literature has largely derived motivations for reversal from motivations for beginning nuclear programs: a change in security threat, the norm for nonproliferation, and domestic considerations such as technical capabilities and regime type. I argue that we should not assume that the motivations for reversing a nuclear program are equivalent to the motivations for beginning one; rather, leaders may reverse their state's nuclear programs for reasons entirely different from why they chose to seek them in the first place. Further, of those studies that consider external inducements to the reversal process, the focus is largely on the efficacy of economic sanctions to prevent proliferation. Few studies focus on the utility of positive inducements, and even fewer look at the net effects of inducement options as a comprehensive package even though proliferation diplomacy often embraces packages in dealing with states of concern. This project sheds new light on the relationship between inducements and nuclear reversal and indicates that carrots may be stronger than sticks in matters of nuclear deproliferation.

Bribing the Bomb: The Use of Inducements in Arms Control, Under review

Under what conditions do major powers influence leaders to stop pursuing nuclear weapons programs? While most literature focuses on why states begin programs and what factors may make them more or less likely to acquire weapons capabilities, there is less theoretically rigorous work on the specific conditions under which major powers attempt to influence nuclear reversal. This manuscript offers a novel approach to identifying what policy options work best at compelling leaders to reverse their programs. In it, I explore the conditionality between a leader's decision-making space and the ability of a major power such as the United States to credibly offer them positive inducements to reverse. The findings indicate that positive inducements are more effective than their negative counterparts at engendering nuclear reversal and that the credibility of an offer from a major power is the primary condition for when positive inducements will be offered. 

Post-tenure fate and nuclear reversal: What happens to leaders who reverse their nuclear weapons programs? Revising for Submission

Possessing nuclear weapons (or having status as a nuclear weapons state) holds a strong allure for many leaders, symbolizing modernity in the international community and affecting national identity. With the understanding that any leader who seeks nuclear weapons has put considerable resources towards the endeavor, it is imperative to consider what happens to a leader who fails to acquire them. What happens to leaders who begin nuclear programs, but fail to acquire nuclear weapons? In order to examine the fate of leaders who begin programs but are unsuccessful in actually acquiring weapons, I transform country-level data on indicators of nuclear proliferation to create a leader-level dataset for 37 states with the capability to proliferate for the years 1946 - 2013. Utilizing these data, I empirically test how audience costs affect the fate of leaders through selection models. Heckman Probit models are an advantageous testing strategy, directly connecting the empirical analysis to my theoretical model by allowing me to model post-tenure fate as conditional on reversing weapons programs, thus providing evidence for leaders who suffer negative consequences for reversing nuclear weapons programs and those who do not. I find that, on average, leaders who capitulate to negative inducements from the international community, particularly personalistic and party dictators, are more likely to suffer negative post-tenure fates than leaders who accept positive inducements. This finding adds to the literature on the efficacy of positive and negative inducements in IR literature and offers an explanation for why positive inducements may be more effective for certain types of non-democracies.