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Continuity, History, and Identity: Why Bongbong Marcos Won the 2022 Philippine Presidential Elections (with Allen Hicken, Anil Menon and Ronald Holmes) Forthcoming, Pacific Affairs

ABSTRACT: In May of 2022, Bongbong Marcos won a commanding 59% of the vote to become the President of the Philippines. His victory was, on some level, shocking to scholars and analysts of Philippine politics. As a result, a plethora of different theories have been proposed attempting to explain why Marcos won. In this paper, we use nationally representative survey data to explore which factors predict (and do not predict) voting intention for Marcos.

How do Filipinos Remember Their History? A Descriptive Account of Filipino Historical Memory (with Allen Hicken, Anil Menon and Ronald Holmes). Forthcoming, Contemporary Southeast Asia

ABSTRACT: How do Filipinos remember their history? To date this question still has no systematic answer. This article provides quantitative, descriptive results from two nationally representative probability samples that show how Filipinos view three of the country’s major historical events: the Spanish colonization of the Philippines; martial law under President Ferdinand Marcos; and the 1986 People Power Revolution.

ABSTRACT: The past few years have seen an emergence of populist leaders around the world, who have not only accrued support but have also maintained it despite rampant criticism, governance failures, and the ongoing COVID pandemic. The Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte is the best illustration of this trend, with approval ratings rarely dipping below 80%. What explains his high levels of robust public support?

Facilitating Development: Evidence from a National-Level Experiment on Improving Bureaucratic Performance in Myanmar (with Edmund Malesky) Forthcoming, Journal of Politics

ABSTRACT:  Despite strong theoretical foundations, randomized evaluations demonstrate that subnational performance assessments (SPAs) have a mixed record in improving governance. We suggest that a key factor influencing this disappointing result has been the omission of facilitation---working with bureaucrats on how to use SPAs effectively and encouraging collaboration across government agencies.

ABSTRACT:  A growing literature posits that colonial Christian missions brought schooling to the colonies, improving human capital in ways that persist to this day. But in some places they did much more. This paper argues that colonial Catholic missions in the Philippines functioned as state-builders, establishing law and order and building fiscal and infrastructural capacities in territories they controlled.

ABSTRACT: Political dynasties exist in practically every variant of democracy, but take different forms in different places. Yet the types of dynastic structures have remained unexplored.

ABSTRACT: We study the impact of rank-based decision-making in a multi-member plurality electoral system by examining the decisions of Philippine legislative councilors to run for and win higher office.

Media and Commentary: Philippine Strategic Forum

ABSTRACT: This paper presents a theory of foreign military basing as a function of the degree of internal threat facing a host nation. The theory is based on rational choice logic where politicians balance economic and security benefits against sovereignty and legitimacy costs.


ABSTRACT: The positive relationship between precarity and preferences for redistribution is well-established in a large literature focusing on the Global North. Existing scholarship, however, finds no relationship between precarity and redistribution in the Global South.

ABSTRACT: Nations worldwide have toppled their colonial edifices, attempting to distance themselves from the past. Yet other countries appreciate their former colonizers, the symbols of which still stand proudly in state capitals. What explains variation in how postcolonial states frame their colonial past? The argument is grounded in colonial history: local elites in colonized countries mobilize for greater political rights, a consequence of national consciousness and foreign exposure. .


I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Singapore Management University.

My main research interest is the Political Economy of Development. I have a primary regional interest in Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines. 

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