I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Government at Cornell University. In the Fall of 2017, I will join the faculty of the International and Area Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma as the Wick Cary Assistant Professor of Political Economy. In the Fall of 2018, I will be a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. I study public opinion and political behavior in authoritarian regimes, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. I am also interested in macro-issues of regime stability and legitimization in non-democratic and transitioning regimes.
My dissertation investigates why people choose to vote in non-competitive elections. I spent 2014/15 in Cameroon conducting an original national public opinion survey in order to explore how and why people choose to engage in elections that never result in electoral turnover. I show that there are important (yet so far unexplored) cleavages in autocratic regimes that create different incentives for different types of people to participate in politics. Further, I argue that most people don't necessarily vote because they have received things from the state. Instead, certain types of people are more likely to vote out of a sense of civic duty, a desire to improve the level of democracy, or due to familial and community pressure.