My research focuses on several intersecting topics: voting behavior, ethnic and racial politics, comparative party systems, electoral campaigns, and democratization. My primary regional focus is Africa, but my interests extend to new and consolidating democracies around the world. I have written in depth on South African elections, as well as topics like the impact of democratization on economic growth; political business cycles; fiscal politics and electoral accountability; electoral volatility; and African voting behavior. My current research looks at: 1) the impact of ethnic diversity on party systems; 2) electoral fraud; and 3) Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaigns in Africa.
Framing the Race in South Africa: The Political Origins of Racial Census Elections. Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Post-apartheid South African elections have borne an unmistakable racial imprint: Africans vote for one set of parties, whites support a different set of parties, and with few exceptions, there is no crossover voting between groups. These voting tendencies have solidified the dominance of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) over South African politics and turned South African elections into "racial censuses." This book explores the political sources of these outcomes. It argues that although the beginnings of these patterns lie in South Africa's past, in the effects apartheid had on voters' beliefs about race and destiny and the reputations parties forged during this period, the endurance of the census reflects the ruling party's ability to use the powers of office to prevent the opposition from evolving away from its apartheid-era party label. By keeping key opposition parties "white," the ANC has rendered them powerless, solidifying its hold on power in spite of an increasingly restive and dissatisfied electorate.
“Multiparty Competition, Founding Elections and Political Business Cycles in Africa.” Journal of African Economies 12: 444-468. Coauthored with Steven A. Block and Smita Singh.
"Fiscal Policy Outcomes and Electoral Accountability in American States.” American Political Science Review 92(4), December. Co-authored with James Alt and Robert Lowry.