The bulk of my research focuses on the effects of power and self-interest in international cooperative situations, specifically in trade and development relations. Neoliberals such as Robert Keohane and Robert Axelrod claim that egoists only cooperate when they can derive more benefit than pursuing a goal alone.  My research agenda is derived from this theory of cooperation.  My publications and working papers on state behavior in the WTO as well as the effects of foreign direct investment on development illustrate how power relationships define would-be cooperative interactions and lead to greater benefits for the more powerful state.

Current Projects

WTO Dispute Settlement Issues


“Domestic Legal Traditions and the Dispute Settlement Body: Are Certain States More Litigious Than Others?” 2014. Journal of International Trade Law and Policy 13 (2): 123-135.  PDF

The influence of domestic legal traditions on dispute behavior has been widely examined in the conflict literature.  This study builds on that to focus on dispute behavior within the World Trade Organization. States with a civil legal tradition hold treaties and agreements in high esteem.  Therefore, they will be more likely to file trade complaints and pursue adjudication when compared to states with common or mixed legal traditions.  I test my hypotheses using data from the WTO and find that, while civil law states are more likely to file complaints, they are less likely to pursue adjudication over a negotiated settlement.

“Puerto Rican Development in Light of US Colonialism: The Case of the Rum Excise Tax.” 2014. Latin American Policy 5 (1): 26-38.  PDF

The relocation of Diageo’s rum production facility from Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands in 2010 had larger ramifications than the shifting of jobs from one island to another.  Attached to this is the distribution of monies associated with the excise tax placed on each bottle of rum produced in these territories.  For close to five decades, Puerto Rico received a large majority of these funds and invested it in economic growth.  In order to secure a larger share of the cover-over money, the USVI promised large corporate kickbacks funded by the tax.  In this paper, I examine which strategy has an impact on economic growth: the cover-over as a supplemental fund or as a MNC enticement.  I conclude that the use of the cover-over as a supplement to island growth is ineffective, and that constrained growth is due more to their political status as territories of the US.

“The Influence of Legal Capacity on WTO Dispute Duration.” 2013.   The International Trade Journal 27 (5): 1-16.  PDF

WTO dispute settlement has evolved away from the concise process originally imagined to one where panels languish for years.  This is to the detriment of lesser-developed states that do not have the resources that allow for access.  In this paper, I perform a multivariate analysis to explore the relationship between a state’s legal capacity and the length of trade disputes.  Controlling for selection bias, I find that the legal capacity of both the involved parties contributes to longer disputes.  The relaxed time expectations in this process favors the inclusion of developed states and excludes those without the resources necessary to carry out what has become the normal dispute process.

“Exploring Aviation Rivalries within the Legal Context of the WTO.” 2013. The Estey Centre Journal of International Law and Trade Policy 14 (1): 39-55. PDF

When states file complaints in the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body regarding another’s trade behavior, they may be motivated to strategically promote their own national interests rather than working towards a collectively beneficial resolution.  Using two cases regarding aviation, I explore the evolution of trade rivalries in the WTO environment.  I derive a hypothesis from the endogenous protection literature, that states that produce the same goods in a small and competitive market will be more likely to file a significant number of WTO disputes in order to block access to their own and foreign markets.  Using the principle rivalry approach, I find that both disputes involve a mutual recognition of rivalry over the aviation sector, as well as the use of heightened diplomatic language.  I expect that as more states begin to utilize the DSB, other dyads involved in the trade of highly specialized goods will be more likely to engage in this type of strategic behavior.

“Extended Endogenous Protection and Exogenous Protection in the EU-US Banana Disputes.” (with Michael E. Allison) 2013. The Latin Americanist 57 (2): 111-129. PDF

“Interest Group Influence on WTO Dispute Behavior: A Test of State Commitment.” 2012.  Journal of World Trade 46 (6): 1261-1280. PDF

This study examines the influence of interest groups on a state’s willingness to pursue their most favorable decision during a WTO dispute.  States are committed to their WTO agreements, but they also have to act as a watchdog for their domestic industries in states that may not hold WTO agreements in high esteem.  Interest group influence on the state has been examined through case studies, but never at the systemic level.  I hypothesize that states being pressured by many interest groups are more likely to pursue a dispute into the higher levels of dispute resolution.  I test this using data from the WTO as well as interests groups from around the world.  I find that complainant states are more likely to be pressured by their interest groups to pursue a favorable outcome rather than settle or accept an earlier decision.

“Support for Women Officeholders in a Non-Arab Islamic Democracy: The Case of Indonesia.” (with Thomas J. Scotto and Arnita Sitasari) 2010. Australian Journal of Political Science 45 (2): 261-275. PDF

Recent work argues that the relationship between Islamic faith, the lack of support for gender equality and democratization is spurious.  This paper analyzes the correlates of individual support for increasing the number of women serving in Indonesian legislatures. Indonesia is a relevant case because it is an emerging democracy, outside of the oil-rich Middle East, where over 85% of the citizenry registers a Muslim faith. We find that the
willingness of Indonesians to support or oppose gender equity in politics is only minimally rooted in their faith or culture. This result buttresses the conclusions of cross-national studies that question the appropriateness of treating predominantly Muslim nations in the same way when studying questions of gender equity and democratization.

“New Cohesion Policy Aims and Instruments and Their Impact on the Regions.” 2009. In The Treaty of Lisbon and the Regions. Vitoria-Gasteiz: Parlamento Vasco.