Book project:

My book project, based on my dissertation, develops a theory on when and how a decline in natural resource revenue (negative revenue shock) incentivizes political elites to support private business activities and investment and reverse the ‘resource curse.’ I propose that resource-rich societies can reverse the economic `resource curse’ during times of negative revenue shocks, if political elites view this shock as permanent. During permanent shocks, elites have incentive to compensate for lost revenues in the long run and, consequently, improve the institutional environment and support private economic activities. In contrast, if a shock to resource revenues is temporary, elites lack such incentive and make up for the lost revenues by worsening the institutional environment and imposing difficulties on private actors.

I support this theory using Russia’s oil and gas producing regions’ experiences following two negative revenue shocks, one permanent and one temporary. To examine the effects of these shocks, which constitute two natural experiments, on private economic activities, I employ a difference-in-differences framework. Specifically, I analyze regional statistical data and interviews gathered during fourteen months of fieldwork in Russia. This project extends the literature on the political and economic ‘resource curse’ by shifting away from the literature’s usual focus on the onset of the ‘curse’ and examining the conditions that may lead to its disappearance.


“Moments of Change? Negative Revenue Shocks and Political Regime Changes between 1961 and 2016.” Forthcoming. In Democratic Struggles in Challenging Times: Insights from Mongolia and Around the World, Christian Suter, Stephen Brown, Dolgion Aldar, and Tamir Chultemsuren eds. Photocraft LLC (World Society Foundation).

Correlates of Forest Cover Change in European Russia, 1989–2012.” 2020. Lead author with Scott Gehlbach, Peter V. Potapov, Catalina Munteanu, Eugenia V. Bragina, and Volker C. Radeloff. Land Use Policy 96. (Replication data)

Working papers:

“Negative Revenue Shocks and Economic Development in Russian Regions”

“Judicial Independence and Resource Dependence in Authoritarian Regimes”

“Democracy’s Truimph and Crisis in Miniature: The Case of Mongolia” (with Steven Fish)

“Evolution of Political Parties and Their Role in Democratic Consolidation in Mongolia”