Assistant Professor of Political Science. Ph.D., University of New Mexico, 2004.
My research focuses substantively on the political economy of several critical national-level and international policy areas, including trade, investment, taxation and public health. Theoretically, I am particularly interested in how interests and institutions interact to generate these policies and produce the corresponding policy outcomes. I examine these issues and themes in both developing and developed (particularly the behavior of corporations and business associations in the U.S.) countries. I have completed extensive field research in Africa, Latin America and South Asia, funded by various universities, institutes and national organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the International Development Research Centre.
Most recently, I have been working with a number of colleagues in Africa to produce a volume, Tobacco Control in Africa: People, Politics and Policies, about the political economy of public health policy in Sub-Saharan Africa through the lens of tobacco. Using the work of an ambitious two-year, evidence-based, highly-collaborative research undertaking, the book examines the determinants of the development and implementation of wide-ranging public health policies that address the tobacco epidemic in developing countries. Samples of pre-publication versions of the volume’s country-level case studies are available from the Africa Tobacco Control Regional Initiative.
I have included abstracts from some recent publications below, as well as links to .pdf copies of each article for personal use only.
"Introduction" from Tobacco Control in Africa: People, Politics and Policies. London UK: Anthem Press, 2011 (and in French, La lutte contre la tabagisme en Afrique: Peuples, politique et politiques, Québec: Les presses de L’Université de Laval, 2011).
Keywords: tobacco control, public health, Africa, taxation, advertising bans, graphic warning labels, smoke-free, civil society, corporate social responsibility.
The public health rewards of smoke-free policies are well documented. But in their enthusiasm to achieve such policies, public health advocates and policy makers frequently underestimate the political complexity of passing laws, and then implementing and enforcing them. Using 12 African countries as the focus of discussion, this research examines the basic political process for and the barriers to achieving smoke-free policies. Moreover, in addition to the obstacles, it examines why some countries have been experiencing comparatively more success in the smoke-free policy area. The findings of the research suggest strongly that the presence of a vigorous tobacco control civil society movement, some will on the part of government institutions, and active research support contribute significantly to successful smoke-free policies. It is also apparent that the emerging battle fronts in smoke-free policies are in the areas of implementation and enforcement, and while similar variables that affect the passing of new laws also condition these outcomes, there are the added distinct challenges of policy fatigue and additional resource constraints.
Keywords: tobacco control, smoke-free, public health, Africa, civil society.
This article examines the counterpoint to recent economic reform programs: policies that potentially defy the reform process. Policy "reversal" is particularly evident in the area of trade liberalization where nations reduced tariffs while simultaneously introducing non-tariff barriers (NTB), particularly the widespread antidumping (AD) measure. This research seeks to identify the determinants of these new "post-liberalization" trade policies by combining dominant interest group approaches with more state-centered explanations in an examination of two vigorous NTB users, South Africa and Mexico. The results of nested probit analyses suggest that private interests dominate the process in Mexico, while both interests and the state's overall strategic development objectives shape trade policy outcomes in South Africa.
Keywords: economic reform; Mexico; non-tariff barrier; South Africa; trade policy
Recently, while opening their markets to international trade through tariff reduction, developing nations have been quietly adopting non-tariff measures that impose new barriers on imports. This study contributes to a literature that assesses reactions to recent widespread economic reform, particularly in the developing world. While analysts have identified many determinants of the reform process, we are only beginning to assess the factors that shape its twists, turns, and even reversals. In particular, we do not yet have a clear understanding of the determinants of governments' treatment of different groups and actors in this process. This article examines these reactions to trade liberalization in an important middle-income nation, Argentina, by drawing upon the significant body of theoretical and empirical literature on trade policy in developed nations that demonstrates that both economic and political factors condition policy implementation. Utilizing a data set of non-tariff trade disputes during the time period of 1992 to 2001, the analysis employs probit maximum likelihood techniques to assess the relationship between trade policy outputs and economic and political factors. The findings suggest that economic factors, including import flows, and political factors such as the breadth of representation appear to condition trade policy decisions in Argentina. The results also suggest that overall macroeconomic context affects policy outputs.
Keywords: antidumping; Argentina, economic reform; non-tariff barrier; trade policy
This paper seeks to address some of the important current issues that frame the analysis of AD policy. First, we review briefly the original intended purpose of AD policies, and where and how it sits on the agenda of current international trade negotiations. Second we discuss the political variables that scholars demonstrate affect the provision of protection through AD policy. Third, we illustrate how pervasive AD policy is becoming worldwide. Next, we review the state of affairs of AD policy with the world's largest user, the U.S., and in particular, introduce and discuss the latest important development, the implementation of the "Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000." Finally, we conclude with some general reflections on AD policy and point researchers in directions for the future study of this vital international trade issue.
Keywords: antidumping, Byrd Amendment; non-tariff trade barrier
The issue of whether or not money influences policy making has been widely debated in American politics. While a direct link between money and policy outcomes has proven difficult to make, bureaucratic decisions on trade protection provide an opportunity to link politically active firms and industries to policy outcomes. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce both play a major role in making trade policy by administering several important trade laws, including the U.S. antidumping law. Firms can petition the ITC and Commerce for protection from foreign firms that are alleged to engage in the unfair practice of dumping their goods on the U.S. market. Evidence suggests, however, that firms use this law as a means of seeking protection from foreign competition, even when that competition is fair. As the stakes are high for both domestic and foreign firms, there is the potential for political influence. Focusing on lobbying activities and campaign contributions, we analyze the influence of domestic and foreign monies on bureaucratic decision making on trade policy.
Keywords: antidumping; congressional committee; congressional oversight; International Trade Commission; trade policy
Group theorists led by Olson have observed that common interests do not produce collective action, except under conditions that overcome the free-rider incentive. While collective action theories have captured the imagination of the discipline, there has been surprisingly little examination of the relationship between business collective action and patterns of market structures. Research has instead focused more on firm-level political activity. Accordingly, this research addresses the original theoretical propositions by examining industry associations’ political activity nationally. Some forty years after the formulation of the theoretical argument, we find evidence supporting the logic of collective action. More concentrated industries are likelier to have politically active associations than more competitive industries.
"Futility and Free-riding: Corporate Political Participation and Taxation Rates in the United States." Business and Politics (December 2008) 10, 3: 1-24 (with W. Hansen). Please access for free directly at: http://www.bepress.com/bap/vol10/iss3/art2/.
While there is a strong theoretical foundation for the relationship between business sectors’ political spending and the policy benefits that they receive, the empirical support for it is mixed. We use the logic of this exchange to examine a policy area that directly and significantly affects all businesses, and is thus a most likely case, taxation. Using principally firm-level tax rates of a large random sample of U.S. corporations for the 1998-2005 time period, we determine whether lobbying has measurable effects on firm-level tax rates. Contrary perhaps to popular belief, or at least anecdotal illustration, we find after controlling for firm size and industry-level tax rates, among other controls, that there is no discernible effect of political spending on firm-level taxation: firms that spend more in an effort to affect policy generally or tax policy specifically are no more likely to benefit from lower tax rates. We also examine the possibility that firms in the same industry coordinate efforts to affect tax rates. While we find limited evidence that firms occasionally coordinate within industries – or at least lobby simultaneously – to affect tax rates, perhaps more importantly, we determine that free-riding by smaller firms at the expense of the largest firms is rampant.
Keywords: Taxation, lobbying, corporate political activity, behavior of firms
"Does Firm Size Matter? Analyzing Business Lobbying in the United
States." Business and Politics (August 2006) 8, 2: 1-17 (with W. Hansen).
Please access directly at http://www.bepress.com/bap/vol8/iss2/art4.
In the study of corporate political activity in the United States, scholars have consistently relied on samples comprised entirely or principally of large firms. While scholars have raised the issue of bias in these samples, there have been no systematic examinations of the consequences for causal inference. We address this issue directly by comparing the results of comprehensive models that examine corporate lobbying using both large-firm and randomly-generated samples. We find that while there are some notable differences, they are certainly not so large as to lead us to question fundamentally the results of decades of scholarship In short, the results generated using a random sample lead to causal inferences largely consistent with those in the theoretical and empirical literature. In particular, firms' resources and interactions with government condition both their decisions to lobby and the level of their activity.
Keywords: corporate political activity; lobbying; sample selection
Since Mancur Olson's Logic of Collective Action (1965), it is impossible for political scientists to conceive of political participation without reference to his powerful argument linking numbers of participants, public goods, and participatory outcomes. What is puzzling is the poor empirical support for this argument in the domain where it should work best, namely explaining business political activity. Olson thought his arguments principally applicable to economic groups, and for the empirical development of his arguments Olson drew heavily on business interests, the most active segment of the interest group community. We explore these arguments with business political activities data by examining the statistical performance of various measures of market structure in determining business political activity, and find little empirical support. We do offer an alternative basis for business behavior lodged in both private and collective goods that preserves business rationality, and also helps explain not only the amount of business political participation but the modes of business participation.
Keywords: collective action; industry concentration; market structure
"Collective Action, Pluralism, and the Legitimacy Tariff: Corporate Activity or Inactivity in Politics." Political Research Quarterly (September/October 2004) 57, 3: 421-29 (with W. Hansen and N. Mitchell).
Despite the fact that domestic and foreign corporations, along with trade associations, are some of the most politically active groups in the United States, earlier research has identified a substantial number of firms that are politically inactive. Using fresh data collected from the 2000 election cycle for the Fortune 1000 and the Forbes top foreign investors, we examine business soft money, lobbying expenditures, as well as PAC contributions, in exploring economic, institutional, and political factors that might explain the choice of political activity or inactivity. This article goes beyond earlier research in several ways. Previous research has focused on PAC contributions rather than a fuller range of activities, and has not included association political activity in the analysis of firm-level behavior. And, the influence of other actors in the political system, notably environmental and citizen groups, has not been systematically examined. Theoretically, these data allow us to examine the countervailing power thesis, the institutionalists' arguments about the nature of foreign business behavior, and the unexplored collective action questions that business associational activity poses -- are firm and associational activities complements or substitutes?
Keywords: countervailing power; lobbying; political action committee (PAC); soft money
Generally, I teach a variety of courses on political economy. My international political economy course explores the nexus of politics and economics, and particularly focuses on the politics of trade, monetary and investment policies. I also teach several advanced-level classes on development broadly, and the political economy of development more specifically (and underdevelopment). I use my field experience and substantive foci on Latin America, Africa and South Asia to help inform my classes. These courses focus particularly on the processes of economic reform; the roles of institutions, business and labor; and related issues such as poverty, human rights, war, gender and the environment.
Furthermore, I sometimes teach an interactive course that explores the central concepts of liberal democracy. Using an electronic bulletin board and video-conferencing, students interact with students and other interested citizens from Nepal in a program that examines how to "design," implement and consolidate a successful new liberal democracy.
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