Comparative Politics


A Centripetal Theory of Democratic Governance, Cambridge University Press, 2008
(with Strom Thacker)
This book sets forth a relatively novel theory of democratic governance, applicable to all political settings in which multi-party competition obtains. Against the prevailing decentralist theory (deriving from Madison and Montesquieu), we argue that good governance arises when political energies are focused toward the center. Two elements must be reconciled in order for this process of gathering together to occur. Institutions must be inclusive and they must be authoritative. We refer to this combination of attributes as “centripetal.” While the theory has many potential applications, in this book we are concerned primarily with national-level political institutions. Among these, we argue that three are of fundamental importance in securing a centripetal style of democratic governance: unitary (rather than federal) sovereignty, a parliamentary (rather than presidential) executive, and a closed-list PR electoral system (rather than a single-member district or preferential-vote system). We test the impact of these institutions across a wide range of governance outcomes.

  • Stata (use Notes command to access codebook)
  • Text (tab-delimited)
  • Stata commands used to produce column 1 of Tables 6.1-6.11

  • Helge Holtermann, Journal of Peace Research (May 2009) 455-6.
  • Timothy Hellwig, Comparative Political Studies (2009) 998-1001.
  • Florina-Laura Neculai, euroPOLIS (June 2009) 708-10.


    CLIO World Tables: A Global Historical Database
    (with Jim Mahoney) [In process]

    A Global Historical GIS (GH-GIS) Project [Proposed]
    (with Peter Bol, Nathan Nunn, Humphrey Southall, Robert Woodberry)
    Project Description

    Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)
    Web site
    “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: A New Approach”
    Perspectives on Politics 9:1 (June 2011) 247-67 (with Michael Coppedge).



    Assessing Public Health Performance: A Model-Based Approach. 2013. Social Science & Medicine 93 (September) 21-28 (with Strom Thacker, Ruben Enikolopov, Julian Arevalo, Matthew Maguire).


    “Democracy and Human Development.”
    Journal of Politics 74:1 (January 2012) (with Strom Thacker and Rodrigo Alfaro)

  • Data files

    “An Institutional Theory of Direct and Indirect Rule”
    World Politics 63:3 (2011) 377-433 (with Daniel Ziblatt, Johan Van Gorp, and Julian Arevalo)

  • Data files

    “Democracy, History, and Economic Performance: A Case-study Approach”
    World Development 39:10 (October, 2011) (with Peter Kingstone, Matthew Lange, and Aseema Sinha)

    “Are Parliamentary Systems Better?”
    Comparative Political Studies 42:3 (2009) 327-359 (with Strom Thacker and Carola Moreno)

    “Do Neoliberal Policies Kill or Save Lives?”
    Business and Politics 10:3 (2008) (with Strom Thacker)

    “Global Justice as an Empirical Question”
    PS: Political Science & Politics 40:1 (January 2007)

    “Do Neoliberal Policies Deter Corruption?”
    International Organization 59:1 (Winter 2005) 233-54 (with Strom Thacker)

  • Appendices
  • Stata
  • Excel
  • Text (tab-delimited)

    “Centripetal Democratic Governance: A Theory and Global Inquiry”
    American Political Science Review 99:4 (November 2005) 567-81 (with Strom Thacker and Carola Moreno)

  • Stata (use Notes command to access codebook
  • Excel (contains codebook for all versions of the dataset)
  • Text (tab-delimited)

    “Democracy and Growth: A Historical Perspective”
    World Politics 57:3 (April 2005) 323-64 (with Philip Bond, William Barndt, and Carola Moreno).
    Data Set

    “Minor Parties in Plurality Electoral Systems”

    Party Politics 11:1 (January 2005) 79-107

    “Political Institutions and Corruption: The Role of Unitarism and Parliamentarism”
    British Journal of Political Science 34:2 (April 2004) 295-330 (with Strom Thacker)

  • Stata (coming soon)
  • Excel
  • Text (coming soon)


    “The Diverse Causal Effects of Diversity on Democracy” (with Dominic Zarecki and Michael Hoffman)

    “Connectivity: A Key Factor in International Development”

    “Are Federal Systems Better than Unitary Systems?” (with Strom Thacker and Carola Moreno)