Coauthored with Stephen Deets
Despite the European Union’s prior success promoting marketization and democracy in post-communist countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina may prove a unique challenge due to the incentives embedded in its governance structure. This article examines how the EU shifted strategy in response to these challenges through the example of BiH’s dairy industry. By de-emphasizing explicit leverage and instead promoting increased institutional capacity in discrete sectors, the EU sought to inculcate norms of professionalism and create more coherent top-to-bottom state service provision, which over time could help reduce resistance to the more fundamental constitutional changes that likely will be necessary for EU membership.
This paper expands on my dissertation work to speak to the interaction of domestic politics and international institutions, showing how ethnic electoral mobilization can create incentives to subvert international development and state capacity improvement efforts, even on what in most contexts would be an innocuous and relatively benign area of policy implementation.
“Demography and Democratization: Ethnic Campaigning in Post-Soviet Latvia”
When do politicians use ethnicity to mobilize voters? While ethnic identities can be useful tools to broadcast information on group membership to voters, such labels are ultimately useless as an electoral strategy if ethnic voting is unlikely to result in political power. This creates a divergence between majority and minority ethnic groups. Simply because of demographics, majority groups have more to gain by ethnic bloc voting than minority groups do, suggesting that ethnic majority group political entrepreneurs have a greater incentive to encourage ethnic voting than minority groups do. This paper documents this effect through a mixed-methods study of post-Soviet Latvian elections. Using a novel time series data set combining content analysis of Latvian political messaging and election results, it shows that ethnic majority Latvian parties and ethnic minority Russian parties follow different trajectories. Both Latvian and Russian political parties campaign on ethnic platforms in the early elections of the 1990’s, yet as democracy consolidates and political institutions develop, ethnic Russian candidates abandon explicit ethnic rhetoric and rebrand as leftist, social democratic parties. Ethnic Latvian parties, however, incorporate a greater ideological content, but do not abandon explicit ethnic identification.
“Ethnic and Non-Ethnic in Competition: Party Branding and Voter Support in Bosnia-Herzegovina”
This paper measures the extent to which individuals instrumentally use ethnicity to inform voting decisions by exploiting the unique case of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Bosnia’s internationally-engineered system of ethno-federalism presents a valuable research opportunity in that: a.) territorial concentration of ethnic groups means that members of the same ethnic group can find themselves as part of a minority or a majority depending on the federal sub-unit, b.) voters simultaneously elect representatives to state and sub-national legislatures, and c.) a highly fragmented political party system provides voters with a wide array of electorally viable political parties, including both explicit ethnic exclusionary parties and multiethnic civic nationalist parties in the context of the same election. Despite strong prior expectations for ethnic voting, this paper shows that a surprisingly large number of Bosnian voters support parties that ostensibly define themselves as multiethnic. Through an analysis of split-ticket voting, in which voters simultaneously support ethnic and multiethnic parties, this paper concludes that variation in support for ethnic and non-ethnic parties is best explained by the rational calculations of voters using ethnic identity to gain information about likely electoral outcomes rather than intrinsic group attachment. Citizens who are members of a local ethnic majority group are more likely to vote for explicitly ethnic parties under increased risk of expropriation by other ethnic groups, whereas citizens of groups which make up the minority in their local areas are less likely to support explicitly ethnic parties due to concerns of vote wasting