My area of specialization is comparative politics. Within that subfield, I focus on ethnic politics, public policy, and the political economy of development. My research is mainly situated in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. I've spent over five years on-location in the region in private sector and academic roles. My research has appeared in numerous outlets and has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), UC Pacific Rim Research Program (PacRim), the Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies (EmPac), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.
Below is a list of select research papers:
- Ethnic Segregation and Public Goods: Evidence from Indonesia: on how spatial segregation of ethnic groups reduces the "diversity penalty" in the provision of public goods (with Yuhki Tajima and Krislert Samphantharak - forthcoming at American Political Science Review).
- Explaining Electoral Behaviour in Singapore: Party Credibility and Valence Voting: on how voting in Singapore is driven by perceptions of competence, rather than ideology, issues, and policy positions -- and how the PAP has been winning that credibility game. (with Steven Oliver - accepted at Journal of East Asian Studies).
- Federalism without Decentralization: Power Consolidation in Malaysia: on how subnational tiers of government in Malaysia has lost autonomy as the Prime Minister's Department has consolidated power. (Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, 2017).
- Malaysia's Electoral Process: The Methods and Costs of Perpetuating UMNO Rule: on the systematic manipulation of Malaysia's electoral system (ISEAS Trends, 2017).
- Vernacular Education, Segregated Classrooms, and Ethnic Diversity: on whether de facto segregated SAP schools in Singapore produce alumni with less ethnically diverse social networks than their counterparts from matched non-SAP schools (with Elvin Ong and Dimitar Gueorguiev - online first at Politics, Groups, and Identities, 2017).
- Indonesia's Decentralization Experiment: Motivations, successes, and unintended consequences: on what Indonesia's 'big bang' decentralization has and hasn't achieved, and why (with Yuhki Tajima and Krislert Samphantharak - Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, 2016)
- Context and comparison in Southeast Asia: on the practical dimension of conducting comparative research in Southeast Asia (with Paul Schuler -- Pacific Affairs, 2015)
- How to win a lost election: on malapportionment in the Malaysian electoral system (The Round Table, 2013)
- Limits of Economic Integration in ASEAN: on how the domestic political costs of dismantling non-tariff barriers limits economic integration under the AEC.
- Canada's Foreign Policy and Bureaucratic (Un)Responsiveness: on how institutional stickiness in the principal-agent relationship between the political leadership and bureaucracy in Canada's foreign affairs offices inhibits the full implementation of political directives (with Julian Dierkes - Forthcoming at Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 2018).
- Placebo Statements in List Experiments, on the vulnerability to mechanical inflation in conventional list experiments plus an easy fix (with Guillem Riambau)
- Engineering Identity: on how Singapore's national services shapes civic and ethnic identities (working paper)
- Political affiliation and ethnic categorization in the Malay identity: on how political affiliation affects intersubjective ethnic categorization (working paper).
- Indonesia's 2014 Presidential Election: an empirical assessment of the recent divisive presidential election using innovative data from all 480k polling stations (with Dimitar Gueorguiev and Paul Schuler - working paper).
As well as other publications and research memos:
- Democratic Crossroads and Political Transitions in Southeast Asia (Global Affairs Canada conference on Southeast Asia, May 2017).
- Fieldwork and the Academic Job Market as a Southeast Asianist. (APSA Comparative Democratization newsletter, vol. 17, 2017).
- China's ambitions welcomed in Kuala Lumpur? (Asia Pacific Memo#388, 2016, with Phuong Nguyen)
- Delayed Transition: The end of consensus rule in Vietnam? (ISEAS Perspective #2, 2016, with Paul Schuler)
- Myanmar's Landmark Election: unresolved questions. (ISEAS Perspective #68, 2015, with Paul Schuler)
- Has Chinese Foreign Policy in Southeast Asia entered a bolder and more assertive phase? (Asia Pacific Memo #342, 2015)
- LNG in British Columbia, Scandals in Malaysia, and the Complexity of Policy Decisions (Asia Pacific Memo #340. 2015)
- The Many Implications of Cheap Oil in Southeast Asia (Asia Pacific Foundation, 2015)
- Will the ASEAN Economic Community transform Southeast Asian economies in 2015 (Asia Pacific Memo #322, 2014, with Krislert Samphantharak)
- Ebola, SARS, and the Economies of Southeast Asia (ISEAS Perspective #63, 2014)
- The Perilous Start and Uncertain Future of the Jokowi Era in Indonesia (Asia Pacific Memo #311, 2014)
- The Year in Malaysian Politics: Democracy's Crooked Trajectory (Asia Pacific Memo #310, 2014)
- Malaysian Insight (and here), Malaysiakini, Today: coverage of my paper on elections in Malaysia (Dec 2017)
- GCTN: interviewed on the ASEAN summit (Nov 2017)
- The Atlantic: interviewed for article on geography and elections in Malaysia and the US (Jan 2017)
- TODAY (Singapore daily newspaper): analysis of Myanmar's election (Dec 18, 2015); also reprinted in the Malay Mail (Dec 19), Eurasia Review, and the Malaysian Insider (Dec 20).
- Vancouver Sun: interviewed for article on Petronas and Malaysian politics, BC LNG (Sept 11, 2015)
- Vancouver Sun: interviewed for article on controversial Petronas investment in BC LNG (Sept. 10, 2015)
- CTV News: interviewed on bombing in Bangkok, Thailand (August 18, 2015)
- Myanmar National Television: one hour interview (with Yves Tiberghien and Dr. Aung Tun Thet) about the opportunities and challenges of Myanmar's triple transition (August 2015)
- Canada Broadcast Corporation "The Early Edition": interviewed on Malaysia's 1MDB scandal and its implications for LNG investment in British Columbia (July 2015)
- ICI Radio-Canada: on LNG and Malaysia's 1MDB scandal (July 2015)
- Globe and Mail: interviewed for article on political instability in Malaysia (June 2015)
- Globe and Mail: interviewed for article on the death of Lee Kuan Yew (March 2015)
- Globe and Mail: interviewed for article on the persecution of Anwar Ibrahim (Feb 2015)
Please click here for a description of my dissertation.