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My research is in comparative political economy with a substantive focus on market regulation and economic policy. Broadly speaking, I am interested in the regulatory role of the state within capitalism: how and why state regulatory regimes developed historically; how state institutions have shaped the development of market economies; and how domestic regulatory regimes have evolved in response to convergence pressures stemming from globalization.

Empirically, much of my work focuses on the political economy of competition law: how and why the rules governing market competition developed differently across political systems; the partially autonomous role of courts in structuring the development of competition regimes; the global diffusion of competition law; and the political and economic factors that shape the transnational and extraterritorial enforcement of competition rules. 


I have particular interests in European politics and public policy, especially the politics of European integration, the socio-economic determinants of support for the EU and the relationship between welfare reform and support for populist political parties.

1. The Political Economy of Competition Law

I am writing a book on the comparative political development of competition law.  I have written several papers on the politics of competition policy. In collaborative projects, I am currently examining competition law and varieties of capitalism in Europe and the politics of EU state aid rules. 

2. European Politics and Public Policy

I have published articles about the effects of the Euro-crisis on public trust in government and the role of the economy in shaping public support for European integration. I have also written working papers on policy implementation in the EU and the relationship between labor market reform and public support for European populism.

The Politics of Industrial Policy

With a collaborator, I have received an external grant to support the development of a new project on the comparative politics of business investment subsidies. We have written a working paper that develops a typology of the diverse socio-economic logics underpinning investment subsidy programs. I recently presented our findings at the "New Thinking in Industrial, Innovation & Technology Policy" held at Columbia University. 

Trust on Trial: Competition Law, Coordination Rights and Varieties of Capitalism

In my current book project, Trust on Trial: Courts, Coordination Rights and the Making of Modern Capitalism, I examine the lasting ways that competition law has shaped the development of capitalism during the long 20th century. Bringing competition law to the center of varieties of capitalism theory, I show how antitrust institutions have differentially structured the quality of the relationships between producer groups, with important implications for their organization, and more broadly the structure of capitalist political economies. Examining the early regulation of trusts and cartels, I first show why distinct regulatory models emerged in Europe and North America, pointing to the important role played by courts during this period. Through historical analysis of legal and political developments, I then trace how these early settlements generated partially path dependent effects, structuring the subsequent development of competition law in each system even as established frameworks were politically contested and forced to evolve. Finally, using a combination of qualitative analyses of competition decisions with quantitative analyses of economic and enforcement data, I examine how these differences have affected observable outcomes into the present, including in areas such a economic concentration, business association and union density, and inequality between differently sized firms.

The Political Economy of Competition Law

I have expanded upon the themes explored in the book project through several articles. In an article recently published in Regulation & Governance, Kathy Thelen (MIT) and I analyse the ‘Brandeisian’ features of EU competition law and identify the institutional factors that contributed to their development over time. In another article, forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies, we develop an original comparative coordination rights typology that proposes concrete links between competition rules and the organization of capitalism. In joint work with Sebastian Kohl (Freie Universität Berlin), I have quantitatively tested the framework using long run indicators of competition law stringency, economic coordination, and party manifesto data. Together this work demonstrates that antitrust rules systematically differ across capitalist system types, that antitrust rules correlate with objective measures of economic coordination, and that LME and CME competition regimes are rooted in distinct political coalitions.

In one article, published in Socio-Economic Review, I explain why anti-dominance rules are now more intensively enforced in the European Union compared to the United States. I argue that American and European antitrust policy is structured by distinct competition paradigms which have been institutionalized by courts through case law. In the United States, a laissez-faire jurisprudential regime has blocked or discouraged anti-monopoly enforcement. In Europe, an ordoliberal jurisprudential regime has facilitated a more intensive enforcement program. In highlighting how case law structures regulatory paradigms, the analysis shows that courts can contribute to both ideational continuity and change in economic policy. 

In another article, published in Regulation & Governance, I show that the diffusion of adversarial legalism in Europe has been moderated by the the organization of EU institutions and the inertia of European legal and bureaucratic traditions. Analyzing EU legislation and the pattern of public and private enforcement in the competition and securities fields, I show that European directives and regulations rely primarily on administrative enforcement through vertically coordinated networks of independent regulatory agencies, a regulatory style closer to bureaucratic legalism. In practice, public enforcement through administrative action has grown much more rapidly than private enforcement, which remains infrequent in most European jurisdictions. The paper points to the limits of global policy diffusion in heavily judicialized areas of the law.

In a new working paper I investigate whether foreign corporate prosecutions are used to promote local prerogatives in integrated markets. Examining more than 5,000 cartel fines by 74 domestic regulators, I show that foreign corporate prosecutions have become a diffuse and increasingly reciprocal instrument of regulatory enforcement as more regulators have investigated and sanctioned multinational corporations. At the same time, these enforcement actions are systematically biased against foreign-domiciled companies. Multi-level regression models of several thousand cartel sanctions demonstrate that foreign firms receive fines that are more severe than similarly sized domestic firms that were members of the same cartel. Judicial review, independent competition agencies, and transnational regulatory networks do not moderate, and may even exacerbate, this bias. The findings suggest that foreign corporate prosecutions are a tool that a variety of jurisdictions can use to hold multi-national corporations accountable to global norms; however, the effectiveness of foreign corporate prosecutions may depend on enforcement remaining tied to territorial politics.  

European Politics and Public Policy

European politics at the supranational and national levels is another area of interest.

In an article published in European Union Politics, Jeff Frieden and I investigate the effects of the Euro-crisis on Europeans’ confidence in government. We find that Europeans’ trust in political institutions has dropped precipitously since the onset of the Euro-crisis, and that trust has declined the most within the countries and among workers most adversely affected. Drawing from an extensive analysis of 600,000 responses to 23 waves of the Eurobarometer, we show that economic, more than cultural or political factors, explain the acute, asymmetrical decline in citizen trust observed over the last decade. The most cited article published in European Union Politics over the last three years, the research has been used by the European Commission and Brookings Institution.


In another article for European Union Politics published in 2021, we have conducted a more in-depth analysis of the economic determinants of support for the EU regime. Examining a quarter century of Eurobarometer responses, we find that utilitarian considerations at both the national and individual levels remain important predictors of support for the EU regime even as national identity has also played an increasingly important role. Where macro-economic conditions are favorable compared to historical patterns, and where individuals have occupational positions that experienced more relative benefit from integration, citizens express more support for membership and more satisfaction with EU democracy. The findings point to the continuing relevance of economic interests in explaining public support for the European project as well as the difficulty of disentangling utilitarian and identitarian explanations. 


In a working paper with Jeffry Frieden, I examine whether labor market spending affects support for populist political parties opposed to European integration and globalization. Examining a panel of nearly 200 elections held in western Europe from 1990-2017 and analyzing pooled cross-sectional data from eight waves of the European Social Survey, we find evidence that populist parties are less successful where public spending on welfare is higher and has been cut less substantially from historical levels. We find evidence that populist parties fare worse where countries spend more on social support, and where spending has not been reduced from historical levels. Austerity, particularly when aimed at labor market programs that compensate individuals for unemployment, sickness or disability, is strongly associated with increased support for populist parties. This effect is pronounced among those individuals who have previously been unemployed for at least three months and within households that are facing adverse economic circumstances. The growing strength of populist political parties is rooted in a complex set of long-term economic, social, and cultural factors, but appropriate social policies may moderate their appeal. 

Book Project
European Union Politics
Competition Law
Politics of Populism
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