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The Age of Discontent: Populism, Extremism, and Conspiracy Theories in Contemporary Democracies. Cambridge University Press. With Rachel Navarre and Stephen Utych. Find it here.


Regime support beyond the balance sheet: participation and policy performance in Latin America. Cambridge University Press. Find it here.

Journal Articles
Journal Articles

"Beyond the balance sheet: participation, performance, and regime support in Latin America." Comparative Politics. Find it here.

"Beyond the balance sheet: participation, performance, and regime support in Latin America." Comparative Politics. Find it here.


Descriptive representation and regime support in Latin America." Political Studies. With Raul Madrid. Find it here.

"The engagement curve: populism, politics, and inequality in Latin America." Latin American Research Review. With Rafael Piñeiro and Fernando Rosenblatt. Find it here.


"Participatory populism: theory and evidence from Bolivarian Venezuela." Political Research Quarterly. Find it here. 

Additional Publications

"Participatory governance in Latin America: promises and limitations." Latin American Politics & Society. Book review essay. Find it here.

"Participatory self-governance and conflict intensification in Bolivarian Venezuela." In J. Gordin & L. Renno (Eds.), Institutional Innovation and the Steering of Conflicts in Latin America. European Consortium for Political Research Press. Find it here.

Popular writing

"The engagement curve: Trump’s rise through the lens of Latin American populism." Panoramas: the Latin American Research Review Blog. Find it here.

"It's not just the economy: the psychology of political system support and populism." The Blue Review. Find it here.


"The Perils of personalism." With Raul Madrid

What impact does personalism, or presidential dominance of a weakly organized ruling party, have on the level of democracy? We argue that presidents who dominate their own weakly organized parties are more likely to seek to concentrate power, undermine horizontal accountability, and trample the rule of law than presidents who preside over parties that have an independent leadership and an institutionalized bureaucracy. Independent party leaders, we suggest, will often try to curb the excesses of the president in order to protect their own political prospects. We explore these hypotheses through a quantitative analysis of the determinants of the level of democracy in 18 Latin American countries from 1980-2015. We find that personalism has a consistently negative impact on the level of democracy in Latin America. We further find that ruling party organizational strength, rather than constitutional checks on the executive, is the most important condition for preventing presidential dominance.

pers paper anchor

"Change from the top? Religions and opinions on immigration." With Rachel Navarre.

There has been a growing shift in favor of comprehensive immigration reform by some religious groups. This leads to the question: do we see a similar shift in their membership? While economic variables, both contextual and individual, have been studied in depth, issues such as group membership in social groups outside of political parties has been understudied. In the cases where these variables are included, the research tends to focus on one aspect rather than both, making it difficulty to compare their effect. We use ANES data to show that anti- immigrant attitudes are driven by “popular conservatism” which focuses on nationalism and protecting cultural homogeneity. Religion did have an effect on opinion towards immigration by reducing the influence of conservatism on anti-immigrant attitudes; religious conservatism appears to be less hostile to the undocumented. These findings support the argument that multiple profiles of conservatism exist among the working class, and that membership in relatively pro-immigrant denominations prevent the emergence of xenophobic nationalism, albeit in different ways. Our findings further support a cultural, rather than economic, basis for hostility toward the undocumented within the working class.


Populist psychology: anxiety, economics, and culture. With Rachel Navarre and Steve Utych.

Populist movements and leaders tend to rise in the aftermath of severe economic crises. The panics of 1870 and 1890 led to the People's Party (for whom the term was coined), neoliberalism led to Chávez in Latin America, and the 2008 financial crises returned populism (of both left and right-wing varieties) to the developed world. This pattern suggests a clear role for political economy in the rise and fall of populist movements, although the mechanism is unclear. Yet recent public opinion scholarship on the topic has found that culture, specifically cultural backlash, drives populist attitudes and ideas far more than do economic grievances. 

This project seeks to reconcile this apparent contradiction in the literature. Using democratic theory and social psychology, we seek to develop a unified theory of populism in public opinion by analyzing the interactions and mediations between economic crises, inequality, insecurity, anxiety, cultural backlash, and anti-systemic ideas and attitudes. We will use quantitative analysis of survey data from around the world, survey experiments, and qualitative and historical methods to test our theory.

We are currently refining our theory and framework, and working to secure funding for the first round of data collection. Possible funding sources include our home institutions, the Time Sharing Experiments in the Social Sciences (TESS) program, and the NSF.

Pop psych anchor


Personalist president/ruling party dyads in Latin America, 1980 - 2015

This dataset includes indicators of personalist president/ruling party dyads in Latin America. Personalism describes presidents who are able to dominate weakly organized ruling parties to which they belong; these parties are often little more than electoral vehicles for the president. The indicators are derived from an expert survey of sixty-four scholars of Latin American politics. Indicators include measures of dominance and party organizational weakness. 

Data will be posted here when the article is accepted for publication. If interested before then, please contact me.

Personalism data anchor

Survey experiment protocols

Procedures matter, Survey experiment questionnaire. 

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