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 - American Political Science Review, 2018).
Rematch: Islamic politics, mobilization, and the Indonesian presidential election: an empirical assessment of the 2014 divisive presidential election using innovative data from all 480k polling stations (with Dimitar Gueorguiev and Paul Schuler - Political Science, 2019).
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 - Journal of East Asian Studies, 2018).
Triple Duel: The Impact of Coalition Fragmentation and Three-Corner Fights on the 2018 Malaysian Election: on how Malaysia’s opposition defeated the incumbent UMNO government despite losing a core partner (with Paul Schuler and Jie Ming Chong - Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 2018).
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, 2018).
Canada’s Foreign Policy and Bureaucratic (un)Responsiveness: Public Diplomacy in the Digital Domain: on how institutional stickiness limited the impact of government (and policy) change (with Julian Dierkes - Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, 2018)
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 - Politics, Groups, and Identities, 2019).
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)
Four Arenas: Malaysia’s 2018 Election, Democratization, and Reform: on how Malaysian politics are largely driven by one of its four major electoral arenas, which elevates the salience of ethnicity and prevents related reforms (with Steven Oliver — AAS Conference Paper, 2019)
Limits of Economic Integration in ASEAN: on how the domestic political costs of dismantling non-tariff barriers limits economic integration under the AEC.
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).
As well as other publications and research memos:
Power Distribution and Decentralisation in New Malaysia: on the struggles to redistribute power in post-UMNO Malaysia. (ISEAS Perspective, 2019)
Local Elections, Decentralisation, and Institutional reform: on the possible return of local elections in post-UMNO Malaysia. (Chapter in “Minorities Matter” on Malaysia’s 2018 general election, 2019)
Singapore’s PAP and Malaysia’s transition. (East Asia Forum, 2018, with Steven Oliver)
Centralisation in Malaysia under Najib. (East Asia Forum, 2018)
Legitimacy and Longevity in Singapore’s Reserved Presidency. (East Asia Forum, 2017, with Isabel Chew)
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)
World Politics Review: coverage of Singapore’s evolving politics (Mar 2019)
South China Morning Post: coverage of Malaysia’s changing relationship with China (Aug 2018)
Los Angeles Times: coverage of Malaysia’s 2018 election (May 2018)
Nikkei Asia Review: coverage of Malaysia’s 2018 election (Jan 2018)
GCTN: interviewed on the ASEAN summit (Nov 2017)
The Atlantic: interviewed for article on geography and elections in Malaysia and the US (Jan 2017)
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)
Please click here for a description of my dissertation.