My primary focus is the study of Comparative Politics, with a regional focus in Latin America. With a rich diversity of political systems, cultures, and history, I view Latin America as the most vibrant political environment in the modern era. I've extensively studied Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile, with a less focused approach throughout the region. My primary research interests concern the evolution of democratic systems and party composition from the 19th century onwards. Where many point to the legacy of military rule and the prevalence of clientelistic relationships as the defining characteristics of this region's politics, I view these understudied political environments as dynamic and unique political atmospheres that blend charismatic rule with specific policy demands. From Juan Peron to Jair Bolsonaro to Hugo Chavez, Latin America has repeatedly produced highly energetic and unique political movements distinct from other, more studied, regions. These movements must be examined within the same rubric as other region's political parties, with ascriptions of clientelism and charismatic leadership as the primary determinant of vote choice as overly simplistic. In my view, the political strategy of many influential Latin American leaders can better be described as highly charismatic politicians adopting widely popular policy demands, vigorously arguing for their implementation, and thus earning large electoral mandates. This pattern may be instructive for other regions in the coming decades, as the growth of polarizing rhetoric and populist policies in consolidated democracies mirrors the previously adopted strategies of successful Latin American politicians.
My second subfield is the study and application of Political Methodology. I am experienced in both Bayesian and Frequentist applications of linear regression, maximum likelihood estimation, and causal inference approaches. I also employ experimental approaches to isolate causality where appropriate and feasible. I have employed diverse methods in my applied research, from online survey experiments to mediation analysis, difference-in-difference design to fixed effects multi-level regression models. This methodological pluralism is driven by the firm belief that the statistical method used must match the research question under study, with a tendency towards methodological parsimony over complexity for complexity's sake.
At the core of my dissertation and related research is the contention that electoral behavior can be modeled as a function of Euclidean distance across multiple dimensions. The difficulty lies in the identification of the appropriate dimensions and their respective utility functions. I argue that each election contains a unique dimensional structure, including both policy and non-policy components. By identifying the appropriate dimensions, and modeling these accordingly, we can better predict political behavior in democratic elections.
It is always difficult to divine the future, but it appears that political responses to climate change will become a driver of electoral results in the coming decades. It is likely that the tangible impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water scarcity, crop failures, and desertification, will manifest politically as disagreement over the best approaches towards mitigation and prevention. Measures such as seawalls, carbon capture, and relocations of domestic populations will require large capital expenditures, and it is likely that publics will polarize about who should bear these costs. Moreover, measures such as solar radiation management imply a globally coordinated effort, thus implying a global coordinating body. Disagreements over the governance of such a structure, the power vested within it, and the authority over individual citizens' lives may become significant electoral topics. By predicting the likely cleavages, examining how attitudes regarding these topics are formed, we may be better prepared to suggest tactics more likely to induce compromise along these necessarily contentious dimensions.
An ongoing, secondary research focus of mine is the study of individual level, psychological factors on political behaviors. Using elements from Jungian Analysis, Moral Foundations Theory, and the Factor Model of Psychology, I explore the influence of these attributes on political behaviors and objects. I contend that partisanship, the strength thereof, varied resonance to styles of political rhetoric, and reactions to politically salient events are partially the result of these fundamental factors. By better understanding the striated reactions to political and non-political stimuli on the basis of intrinsic psychological attributes, we may better understand political outcomes.