Research

My research expertise lies at the intersection of International Relations and Comparative Politics with a particular focus on the political economy of natural resources. More specifically, I advance the literatures on international organizations and good governance by exploring how external influences shape domestic institutions in resource-rich countries. I received my PhD in 2013 from Boston College for my dissertation ‘Transparency Promotion in Resource-Rich Countries: External Remedies to Reverse the Curse in the Caspian.’ In my dissertation I ask: What makes transparency reforms succeed or fail? Based on 40 in-depth interviews and an extensive analysis of primary documents and governance indicators in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, I argue that transparency promotion from the outside is most successful when it also provides material incentives to the political elite in the form of increased access to foreign direct investment.

My postdoctoral research at McGill University aimed to understand why resource-rich countries join international transparency initiatives, critically examining the causal relationship between transparency promotion and corruption. My panel data analysis on all resource-rich countries suggests that governments carry out transparency reforms selectively in order to maintain and attract foreign direct investment while at the same time leaving embedded corruption networks intact.  I have published refereed journal articles in Energy Policy, Resources Policy, Europe-Asia Studies, and Eurasian Geography and Economics based on my doctoral and postdoctoral research. Most recently, I submitted a manuscript called “Transparent Dictators” to the special issue of Extractive Industries and Society. 

I am currently working on three projects at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

My first project is on the geopolitics of energy pipelines with a special focus on transit countries including Ukraine and Turkey. I am developing a new concept called “the transit curse” to understand current problems these countries are experiencing with regards to energy transit.

I am also analyzing the causes and consequences of transparency reforms in the European Union, Canada, and the United States. Industrialized, democratic countries have different priorities compared to less affluent resource-rich countries and my research will provide an original perspective on transparency reforms in developed states.

My third project focuses on Turkey’s investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. The primary objective of this project is to analyze the economic impact of Turkey’s increased presence in Africa and evaluate Africa’s potential for Turkey’s diversification of energy imports.

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