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Mershon Center Speaker Series
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Peter Rosendorff
Transparency, Protest, and Democratic Stability
Thursday, April 06, 2017, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
The Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Avenue, Room 120
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Peter Rosendorff

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Peter Rosendorff is professor of politics at New York University, editor of the interdisciplinary journal Economics and Politics, and a member of the editorial boards of International Organization and Journal of Politics. His research examines the linkages between domestic politics and international economic policy, cooperation and law, with applications to human rights, terrorism, international trade and investment, and democratization.

Rosendorff has published widely in economics, political science and international relations journals. Recent articles include "Do Human Rights Treaties Prolong the Tenure of Autocratic Ratifiers," with James Hollyer (Journal of International Law and Politics, 2012); "Leadership Survival, Regime Type, Policy Uncertainty and PTA Accession," with James Hollyer (International Studies Quarterly, 2012); "Democracy and Transparency,” with James Hollyer and James Vreeland (Journal of Politics, 2011); "Why Do Authoritarian Regimes Sign the Convention Against Torture? Signaling, Domestic Politics and Non-Compliance," with James Hollyer (Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 2011); "Strengthening International Courts and the Early Settlement of Disputes," with Michael Gilligan and Leslie Johns (Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2010); and "Suicide Terror and the Backlash Effect," with Todd Sandler (Defense and Peace Economics, 2010). He is currently writing a book tentatively titled Information, Democracy and Autocracy: Economic Transparency and Political (In)Stability.

Previously, Rosendorff was director of the Center for International Studies and associate professor of international relations and economics at University of Southern California, and assistant professor of economics and government at Georgetown University. Rosendorff holds a Ph.D. (and M.A. and M.Phil.) from Columbia University in Economics, a B.A. and B.S. from University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa in mathematics and economics. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation and Japan Foundation, among others. 


Democratic rule is maintained so long as all relevant actors in the political system comply with the institutional rules of the game – democratic institutions must be self-enforcing. We examine the role of transparency in supporting a democratic equilibrium. Transparency improves the functioning of elections: In transparent polities, elections more effectively resolve adverse selection problems between the public and their rulers. Transparency increases popular satisfaction with democracy and inhibits challenges to the democratic order. We provide a game-theoretic model, test these claims, and find they enjoy empirical support. Transparency is associated with a reduction in both the probability of democratic collapse and of the irregular removal of democratic leaders. Transparency stabilizes democratic rule.


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