My research interests are somewhat eclectic, but focus on issues in contemporary European politics and the party politics of the treatment of social minorities. I choose research questions to ask according to their relevance to understanding European politics todayMy research questions center around how political parties treat and respond to demands for equal treatment by national minorities, particularly members of the LGBTQ community. In particular, I am interests in the backlash against LGBT rights by political parties and deciphering where the opposition comes from and how it is expressed in different institutional contexts. Besides members of the LGBTQ community, I have a strong personal interest in the status of the Jewish community in Europe in a context of an alleged rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. These constitute my core areas of focus today.
Below you will find the list of my published works as well as working papers and projects in progress. For a full list of publications, conference papers, and working papers, see my CV.
Minority Rights in the European Union:
"Broken rainbows: the partisan politics of marriage equality in Europe," (with Yiqian Alice Wang) European Politics and Society, January 2018.
Although a growing number of European governments have legalized same-sex civil unions (SSU) and same-sex marriage (SSM) in the past two decades, others have moved in the opposite direction by stalling partnership legislation or adopting constitutional amendments defining marriage as a heterosexual institution. Why do some European countries move forward with SSU/SSM policies while others do not? Few studies have examined the effects of party politics on partnership laws and those that do highlight the positive influence of Left parties. We revisit this question and suggest that SSU/SSM legalization depends not on governments’ traditional left/right positioning as commonly claimed, but on their preferences for ‘traditional’ versus ‘self-expression’ values. Using event history analysis, we show that governments favoring postmaterialist, self-expression values are more likely to legalize SSU/SSM, irrespective of where they are situated on the conventional left/right spectrum. Along with suggesting that competition over SSU/SSM has not been absorbed into the left/right axis, our findings show the importance of political ideology, and not just social movements or public opinion, for the advancement of LGBT rights in Europe.
"You can always get what you want: why religious organizations opposed the employment equality directive," Journal of European Integration, December 2017.
The Employment Equality Directive expands protections for, among others, gays and lesbians from discriminatory employment practices. This directive has been implemented poorly in Ireland, the UK, and Germany, because religious organizations believed their core ideological and material interests were threatened by extending these protections, even though degrees of policy fit vary among all three countries. Furthermore, the European Commission’s enforcement measures have not been effective in securing compliance. The European Commission has permitted noncompliance to continue in Ireland and the UK. Only change in the partisan make-up of the government led to compliance. This article speaks to ongoing debates about the causes of noncompliance with European Union law and how religious groups, not often considered in the scholarly literature, are now trying to limit the effects of European integration.
"A New Exodus? Explaining Jewish Migration to Israel After the Cold War," Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, (forthcoming).
Why are European Jews migrating to Israel in significant numbers? Israeli leaders and popular press reports suggest that incidents of antisemitism have reached such high levels across Europe, even in fully democratic countries, that Jews are leaving once again for greater security. Others suggest that Jews are migrating for the same reasons other migrants do: for greater economic opportunity. Until now, we have had no way of weighing the relative merit of these claims, hampered by the absence of reliable comparative data on antisemitism in Europe. Leveraging a new dataset compiled by the author, this study rigorously tests these competing hypotheses and finds European Jews migrate because of greater economic opportunity in Europe. While concerns about antisemitism in Europe are at record highs and more Jews are considering moving than ever before in the post-war era, so far most Jewish migration is to take advantage of better economic conditions in Israel. These findings explain why European national governments and Jewish community leaders are urging Jews not to migrate to Israel.
"Putting Gay Marriage to a Vote: Same-Sex Marriage Referenda in Comparative Context" Paper presented at 2018 Midwest Political Science Association and 2018 Western Political Science Association.
In February 2016 Switzerland held a national referendum labeled “For Marriage and Family” that would have effectively banned same-sex marriage (SSM) by amending the Swiss constitution. This is puzzling given that Switzerland has many of the key conditions current research suggests are likely to produce equality legislation, such as low levels of religiosity, a politically weak Catholic Church, and an active LGBT-rights movement. Given these conditions, why did the small Swiss Christian Democratic People’s Party (CVP) push for a referendum that was predicted by many to fail? I argue that same-sex marriage referenda are used by small parties to achieve greater salience and recruit new voters. Political parties use referenda over single issues, like same-sex marriage, to recruit new voters and peel away followers of mainstream conservative ones. They are able to “box in” established conservative parties on highly controversial issues by limiting the campaign strategies they have. Conservative parties can either appeal to the mainstream majority and support SSM or risk losing highly energized voters to rising righting populist parties. When they fail to capture the most energized voters by taking a moderate position, rightwing parties able to capture those voters. By focusing on a country with all of the social ingredients for progress in LGBT rights, we gain more insight into the political conditions for LGBT equality and when referenda are used for strategic reasons.
"Rightwing Populism in a Post-Marriage World: The Varieties of Backlash" Paper prepared for the Jena Money Center for Excellence Faculty Workshop: Marriage Equality in Advanced Industrialized Democracies, University of Pittsburgh, 2017.
Among the issues supposedly central to rightwing populist ideology is opposition to sexual diversity and LGB human rights. By standing for traditional social values, they assign the LGBT community outsider status, as alien to the “people.” However, a survey of rightwing populist parties’ positions across Europe shows there is more diversity than often assumed. In countries where there is no same-sex marriage and low public approval of homosexuality, RWP parties are at the vanguard of opposing LGB rights in their party system. However, in countries where approval of gay rights is high nationally and SSM is in place, rightwing populist parties defend LGB rights and give the community “insider” status, making them part of the “people.” One implication is that as attitudes and the legislative status quo changes, so do the positions of RWP parties on gay rights, a phenomenon consistent with other components of rightwing populist ideology. One possible consequence of the ability to morph positions on LGB rights is the stunting of further progress in extending the protection of LGBT human rights as the appeal of rightwing populism grows among some members of the LGBT community itself.
Political Economy of European Integration:
The Political Economy of Noncompliance: Adjusting to the Single European Market, Routledge, 2011.
The Political Economy of Noncompliance explains why states fail to comply with international law. Over the last sixty years, states have signed treaties, established international courts and other supranational institutions to achieve the benefits of international cooperation. Nowhere has this been more successful than in the European Union. European integration has produced one of the most intensely legalized regimes in the world. Yet, even in the European Union, noncompliance of states often occurs. This book explores the sources of and reasons for noncompliance, and assesses why noncompliance varies across the Member States and over time by looking at the domestic politics of complying with international law. The author uses examples from the history of economic integration in the EU in three countries and two different policy areas to demonstrate these mechanisms at work.
"Bearing their share of the burden: Europe in Afghanistan," European Security, 2009, Vol. 18, Issue 4, pp. 461-482.
This article assesses the relative burden European members of NATO are bearing in the war in Afghanistan. Some argue that the current contribution of European forces is on par with the American contribution. However, current studies do not analyze Europe's ISAF contribution in comparison to some benchmark by which relative burden-sharing can be accurately determined. This article compares Europe's involvement in the war in Afghanistan to past missions, current contributions and in light of the benefits each country is likely to enjoy. The quantitative and qualitative findings show that there is an extensive amount of free-riding occurring both in terms of hard and soft power, although it varies across time and even within NATO Europe. Inadequate forces provided by European NATO countries jeopardize the likelihood of success in Afghanistan.
"Weighing Macedonia's Entry into NATO," Mediterranean Quarterly, 2010, Vol. 21, Issue 1, pp. 45-60.
Greece's veto of the entry of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2009 provides an opportunity to evaluate the possible costs and benefits of a FYROM membership. For NATO, FYROM's inclusion has only a marginal impact on the success of NATO's military missions. In fact, the inclusion of FYROM could mean more, not fewer, security challenges for the alliance. For FYROM, the benefits of NATO candidacy have not materialized. While its civil-military relations have improved, shortcomings still exist among FYROM's democratic and free-market institutions. Evaluating FYROM's case for membership results in a better understanding of the challenges and concerns related to continued eastward expansion.