The Effects of Electoral Anticipation on Portfolio Allocation, Party Politics 2020 Link. Suppl. materials.

Abstract: Whereas much of the existing literature on coalition formation has focused on the disparity between Gamsonian payoffs and the outcomes of bargaining models, dangers of ministerial drift, party ideal points, issue salience/emphasis, and negotiation complexity, very little has been said on the role of the way public opinion affects political behavior via expectation of future electoral returns. Following the logic of “issue yield,” this article argues that politicians allocate ministerial portfolios according to the distribution of public opinion in the hopes of obtaining better returns in subsequent elections and find compelling evidence linking public opinion with portfolio allocation.

Field Research When There Is Limited Access to the Field: Lessons from Japan, PS: Political Science & Politics 2022 Link. (with Amano, Dominiguez, et. al.)

How can scholars conduct field research when there is limited access to the field? This article first identifies how limited and uncertain field access can affect field research and then provides recommendations to address these challenges. We focus on conducting field research in Japan because of our substantive expertise, but we believe that the problems and solutions outlined in this article are applicable to a broad range of countries. Our hope is that this article contributes to the developing literature on conducting research during times of emergency and to the larger literature on best practices for field research.

Under Review:

Fending Off Shield and Sword: How Strategic Purges of State Security Personnel Protect Dictators (Job Market Paper) Link.

While widespread purges of state security services are not everyday occurrences, they are instances in which leaders extend their control over their coercive organs. This paper argues that in a low-information environment, purges provide a highly targeted method to undermine social networks conducive to collective action, down to the junior ranks. Supporting this theory, an analysis using newly compiled data of low-ranking Soviet security workers under Stalin reveals that officials with connections to purged officials were more likely to be purged themselves. This paper sheds light into the obscure workings of secret police organizations and how leaders control them. It also illuminates how authoritarian leaders prevent challenges and contributes to the study of how authoritarian leaders prevent challenges against them and consolidate power.

Mass Receptiveness to Executive Empowerment via Emergency Legislation During Crisis (with Charles Crabtree) Link.

To what extent is the public willing to support executive aggrandizement during emergencies? We argue that, leaders mobilize public opinion during crises for emergency legislation that concentrates power in the executive branch by emphasizing (1) institutional constraints and (2) the crisis severity. To test our argument, we conduct a survey experiment with a national sample of 2,569 Japanese in October 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. It asks respondents to consider the trade-off between executive constraints and their own safety, when this choice was realistic. We find robust null effects, suggesting that such messaging does little to sway respondents, with the caveat that the large majorities supported drastic emergency powers. Our results suggest that mass approval for executive empowerment is more influenced by the incumbent's effectiveness rather than by rhetoric. Taken together, our findings have implications for research on public health and politics as well as democratic backsliding and autocratic politics.

Works in Progress:

How Settlement and Inter-Ethnic Conflict Shapes State Capacity (With Xu Jing and Anna Zhang) Link.

Why do post-colonial states engage in population resettlement in their frontier territories? In this paper, we shift away from the motivations for resettlement by advancing a cost-centric theory for resettlement. We contend that states may use the resettlement policy because they inherit the infrastructural capital to do so from settlers sent by former colonial powers seeking to consolidate their frontiers. We test the observable implications of the theory using a unique geo-coded archival dataset and in the context of Manchuria, a northeastern border region of China. We find that Manchurian areas that once received more Japanese settlers during the colonial period are associated with greater proximity to Chinese settlers in the post-colonial era. We also show that, contrary to most findings about the pro-growth institutions associated with colonial settlements, Japanese settlements led to slower economic development in the long run. By focusing on the costs rather than motivations of resettlement, our paper expands our understanding of the rationale for state-sponsored resettlement policies and uncovers an alternative relationship between colonial settlement and economic development.

How Settlement and Inter-Ethnic Conflict Shapes State Capacity

How does ethnic diversity and conflict affect the capacity of a state to govern its subjects in the context of settler migration? In a multiethnic society where settler groups are displacing natives with traditional collective land ownership institutions, the conflict shapes the distribution of state power. Whereas conflict is normally associated with weaker state power, this paper shows that states pursuing expanding territorial control through land registration can expand their authority over settler groups through opportunistically intervening in conflicts between settlers and natives. On the one hand, such conflict increases the settlers' reliance on state authority, as they must rely on state power to assert individual property rights over parceled plots for intensive cultivation. On the other hand, established native populations with collective property rights over nonparceled land for extensive use have recourse to their own established authorities such as local ethnic and sectarian elites and are therefore less directly reliant on state power. This proposition is tested using data from the 1940 Manchukuo Census, using age heaping as a measure for state capacity as legibility. I find evidence consistent with my theory in the case of Han Chinese settlement into Mongol lands during the period of Japanese rule.

How Arbitrary Repression Undermines the Administrative Capabilities of The Coercive Organs

How does repression shape state capacity? While the literature has been mixed on the effectiveness of repression on quelling opposition and insurgency, the reverse impact of actually employing repression on the coercive organs has been understudied. This paper shows that the use of arbitrary force by police can lead to decreases in their ability to engage in administrative tasks and ascertain accurate information about the population. What more, this effect is not driven by a decline in relationships between the police and society, but is likely driven by factors internal to the police organs. This relationship is tested by analyzing the legacies of arbitrary Chinese repressions against Koreans settlers in warlord-era Manchuria on local state capacity under the subsequently established Japanese client state of Manchukuo, which largely carried over police personnel from the previous government. There is a strong relationship between arbitrary repression against Koreans and lower state capacity over Chinese residents in the subsequent period.

Ideological Contagion and Class Conflict: Exposure to Bolshevism and Class Struggle in Interwar Japan

The Effect of Professional Examinations on State Administration: Regional Executives in Imperial Japan