Research

Populist Governments and Democratic Backsliding during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has provided governments with an opportunity to abuse their emergency powers and weaken democratic norms and institutions, but not all incumbents have exploited this opportunity. In this paper I study this variation in democratic backsliding during the pandemic and focus on incumbent ideology as a potential explanation. Using a new dataset on incumbent ideology I analyze the determinants of democratic violations in 102 countries. My main finding is that populist incumbents have committed significantly more democratic violations during the pandemic than non-populists have. The substantive size of this effect is large and comparable to the effect of a country’s pre-COVID level of democracy. Additionally, I show that populists were more likely to commit violations related to information by restricting free media and engaging in disinformation campaigns. Lastly, I find that populist incumbents in countries with weaker pre-COVID democracy and a larger number of COVID-related deaths have committed more democratic violations. These findings have important implications for debates on democratic survival, its relationship with populism, and its likelihood during periods of emergency. [Download Paper]


Did Populist Leaders Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic More Slowly? Evidence from a Global Sample

What has shaped government reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic? The global health crisis has challenged every government around the world to protect citizens’ lives while minimizing economic disruption. State responses to the pandemic have varied in terms of speed and strength, and observers have accused many governments of doing too little and too late. In this paper I investigate the relationship between a government’s ideology and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, I study whether populist and economically rightwing governments have reacted to the pandemic more slowly than their counterparts. For this purpose I collect new up-to-date data on government composition and ideology for 100 countries. Controlling for several economic, political and demographic factors, I find significant associations between my ideology measures and state responses to COVID-19. My main finding is that strongly populist governments implemented fewer health measures against COVID-19 in February and fewer mobility restrictions in March of 2020. I also find a weaker but statistically significant relationship between rightwing governments and COVID-19 policies. These findings can inform our expectations about how governments will react in future health crises and, more broadly, the relationship between government ideology and public health policies. [Download Paper]


Women’s Murders and the Interaction Between Gender (In)equality and Economic Development: A Subnational Analysis in Turkey

Forthcoming in Journal of Interpersonal Violence [Download Paper] [Replication Materials (including victim-level data)] [Bianet’in 2010-2017 Kadın Cinayetleri Listesi (Erkek Şiddeti Çetelesi)]

[3-page summary] [3-sayfalık özet]


The Power to Hurt and the Effectiveness of International Sanctions (co-authored with Tyson J. Chatagnier and Emre Hatipoglu)

Published in Journal of Politics. [Download Paper] [Replication Materials]


Dangerous Contenders: Election Monitors, Islamic Opposition and Terrorism (co-authored with Patrick M. Kuhn)

Published in International Organization. [Download Paper] [Replication Materials]


Domestic Politics and the Motives of Emerging Donors: Evidence from Turkish Foreign Aid

Published in Political Research Quarterly. [Download Paper] [Replication Materials]


Export Similarity and International Conflict (co-authored with Tyson J. Chatagnier)

Published in Journal of Conflict Resolution. [Download Paper] [Replication Materials]

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