Voice and Satisfaction With Democracy Article Accepted

“Having their Say: Authority, Voice, and Satisfaction with Democracy”, an article co-authored with Eric Merkley, Fred Cutler and Paul Quirk (political scientists at the University of British Columbia), has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics.

Abstract: Scholars have shown that citizen satisfaction with democracy is driven, in part, by having their policy preferences represented in government – authority – and that this is facilitated by “consensus” democratic institutions. Receiving far less attention has been whether such institutions also increase satisfaction by simply providing more inclusive political discourse. Citizens may value having their voice represented in politics, independent of authority. This paper presents the first experimental evidence to this effect by conducting a simulated election campaign while manipulating both the election result and the discussion of a policy issue that subjects cared about. The results show that subjects were less satisfied with democracy when they lost the simulated election, but that this gap disappeared when exposed to discussion of an issue they broadly cared about. This suggests that consensus institutions may have the capacity to cushion the blow of losing by producing more inclusive discourse.


Peacekeeping for Profit Article Accepted

“Peacekeeping for Profit? The Scope and Limits of “Mercenary” UN Peacekeeping,” a paper I co-wrote with Katharina Coleman (UBC) has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Peace Research.


Developing states furnish the vast majority of UN peacekeeping troops, and academics and policy makers frequently assert that one key reason for this is that developing states are able to derive a profit from UN peacekeeping reimbursements. In this article we argue that this ‘Peacekeeping for Profit’ narrative has been vastly overstated. The conditions for significantly profiting from UN peacekeeping are in fact highly restrictive, even for developing states. We begin by highlighting two potent reasons for re-examining this narrative: developing states emerged as the UN’s principal troop contributors in a period of stagnant reimbursement rates; and the quantitative evidence scholars have presented as supporting the peacekeeping for profit narrative is flawed. We then identify the scope conditions within which peacekeeping for profit provides a plausible explanation for a developing state’s UN troop contributions. First, the deployment and its attendant reimbursements must be significant not only in absolute and per-soldier terms but also in relation to the state’s total armed forces and military expenditure. Second, the state must have an exceptional ability, in comparison with other troop contributors, to benefit from UN reimbursements, because the scope for generalized profit-making from either equipment or personnel contributions is limited by intense political pressure against reimbursement rate increases. Individual states can nevertheless make a profit if they 1) invest in inexpensive and old but functional equipment, especially if deployed with usage restrictions and/or 2) limit the deployment allowances (rather than salaries) they pay their UN peacekeepers. Critically, meeting these requirements reflects national policy decisions, not simply national development levels. We establish that only a limited subset of developing states meets the plausibility conditions for the peacekeeping for profit narrative – and many top UN troop contributors do not.