Welcome! I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with an affiliation at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. I am also Director of the Energy Governance and Political Economy (EGAPE) Lab, part of The 2035 Initiative at UCSB. My research interests include comparative political economy, energy and environmental politics, and political methodology. It focuses on the impact of oil and gas resources on governance and environmental politics, and is driven by core questions about the role of government in industry and the design of firm strategies and government policies that will mitigate rather than exacerbate climate change.
I am the author of Power Grab: Political Survival Through Extractive Resource Nationalization (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which shows how dictators maintain their grip on power by seizing control of oil, metals, and minerals production. Some of my other projects examine oil-firm strategies to successfully transition in a carbon-constrained world (with Jessica Green, Jennifer Hadden, and Thomas Hale); the logic of transnational corruption in the oil sector; the impact of oil revenues on parliamentary politics in Iran; the political economy of fossil fuel prices (with Michael Ross, Chad Hazlett, and Cesar Martinez Alvarez); firm-level incentives to limit natural gas flaring and venting from oil extraction sites (with Raphael Calel); how natural resource expropriation hinders labor rights (with Noel Johnston and Nicole Janz); the institutional determinants of corruption (with Miriam Golden); and mapping elite dynamics using statistical network analysis (with John Ishiyama). This work has been published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, the Journal of Politics, Nature Energy, Political Science Research and Methods, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and World Politics.
Prior to coming to UCSB, I was an assistant professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. I completed my Ph.D. in political science and M.S. in statistics from UCLA. I have served as a non-resident fellow at the Initiative for Sustainable Energy at Johns Hopkins SAIS and the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, as the GFC Fellow for the Council on the Future of Energy at the World Economic Forum, and as a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations.