A Gaussian Process approach to regime diffusion

Regime change has increasingly been explained in terms of democratic diffusion. The third wave, in particular, has been interpreted as clear evidence of the importance of spatial factors in explaining democratization and democratic backsliding. While extant theories posit a variety of mechanisms through which spatial diffusion can happen, current empirical approaches are not able to pinpoint its dynamics. In this working paper, I develop Gaussian Process model to explain how diffusion occurs, and delineate how the logics of democratic and autocratic diffusion may differ. 


Get the Word Out: Monitoring human rights reduces abuse

This paper shows that human rights reporting is an effective way to deter abuse. Past research has focused on the reaction of perpetrators to realized forms of shaming, finding mixed results. I argue that would-be perpetrators are more proactive than the literature on shaming suggests. In contexts were human rights conditions are systematically being monitored, potential perpetrators are less likely to utilize repression because they can anticipate the costs of condemnation. The threat of shaming—signaled by the extent of human rights monitoring—can deter abuse by capitalizing on the strategic considerations of potential transgressors. I develop a new global measure of human rights monitoring using quantitative text analysis. I show that monitoring strengthens human rights even when monitoring agents face institutional and political conditions adverse to their work. The efficacy of human rights advocates depends more on their ability to threaten condemnation than in carrying it out.