I am interested in the sources of authoritarian resilience and patterns of political representation in an age when democratic institutions are increasingly limited in their effectiveness and meaning. In addition to my published work, I am currently working on the following research projects.
Electoral Manipulation and Authoritarian Resilience
- Plurality Party Bloc Rule. I am collaborating with Bernie Grofman (UC Irvine) to study the effects of plurality party bloc rule. We are interested in studying how this unique voting rule is aided by the strategic manipulation of constituency boundaries and district magnitude in Singapore. Besides, we are also working with Shaheen Mozaffar (Bridgewater State) to compare how the multiseat plurality bloc voting rule undermines democracy in Cameroon, Chad, Djibouti and Senegal.
- Gerrymandering and Malapportionment. I have been interested and tracking electoral boundary changes in Singapore over the years. I am trying to overcome the lack of census and constituency data by using different mapping and mathematical formulas to assess whether gerrymandering and malapportionment produce partisan bias in recent elections. All suggestions welcome!
- Electoral Malpractice in East and Southeast Asia. Kharis Templeman (Stanford) and I are working on a book project on electoral malpractice. This builds upon our past work organizing a one-day conference as part of the 2017 APSA Conference. This conference consisted of six research panels with 18 international scholars to study the types and effects of electoral malpractice in 13 Asian countries.
- Electoral Integrity in Asia. Supported by SSHRC Insight Development Grant, I am collecting data for a cross-country comparative study on the attitudes and effects of electoral integrity in 10 Asian countries based on mixed methods. I will be completing in-depth fieldwork in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan beginning in the Fall of 2018.
Social Media in Authoritarian Regimes
- Digital Democracy. I am working with Tony Porter on several projects to investigate digital space and democracy, including an upcoming journal article titled, “Regulation of Social Media and Fake News in Asia.”
- Facebook. Funded by McMaster’s Arts Research Board, I am experimenting with social network analytical and web-based tools to study the impact of Facebook on four political parties in recent elections in Singapore.
- Ethnic Quotas and Political Representation. With funding from the SSHRC Insight Grant and SSHRC Connection Grant, Karen Bird and I are working on a project to study ethnic quotas, reserved seats, and other approaches used to increase political representation of ethnic minorities. This project aims to understand how ethnic quota systems relate to meaningful inclusion, modes of political representation, patterns of electoral competition, and chains of political responsiveness and accountability. We will be hosting an international workshop in December 2018, “Comparing Mechanisms of Substantive Representation of Ethnic Minorities and Indigenous Peoples”.
- Are Elected Women Leaders Representative of Their Constituents? In a chapter included in an anthology on Women of Asia: Globalization, Development, and Social Change (Routledge), I examine the background of all female legislators since 1984 in Singapore and used an online survey I conducted with 17 minority and women candidates. My study shows the slate of elected women parliamentarians are typically older, highly educated former civil servants and career professionals who are unrepresentative of typical Singaporean women.
- Global Handbook of Women’s Political Rights (Palgrave MacMillian) I am also co-editing the Global Handbook of Women’s Political Rights with Mona Lena Krook (Rutgers) and Susan Francheschet (Calgary) to commemorate women’s 100th year of suffrage. I’ve commissioned 17 contributors and edited 16 chapters on Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. I also have a 55 chapter book currently in press with Palgrave.
Hegemonic Party Survival in Singapore and Taiwan
- Book Manuscript. To explain how hegemonic party survives in the age of democracy, I have identified a unique set of theoretical relationships and variables, and applied them to Singapore and Taiwan. This was the focus of my PhD thesis, which won the Vincent Lemieux prize for the best Ph.D. thesis submitted in a Canadian institution (2011). I am revising my book manuscript, Hegemonic Party Survival in Singapore and Taiwan, for submission to a university press. Through a historical institutionalist approach, I trace the causal processes and mechanisms that extend the lifespan of Singapore’s PAP and the breakdown of the Taiwan’s Kuomintang Party (KMT). This book highlights the incentives and constraints that maintain elite unity, mass support and weak opposition based on evidence from 60 in-depth interviews, archival resources, electoral and survey data collected during my one year fieldwork in the two countries. My findings are significant for understanding these two countries, as well as the persistence of electoral authoritarianism in other parts of the world.
- Navigating Singapore-Taiwan Relations. Recent diplomatic relations between the two countries reflect the vulnerabilities of small states in the uncertain “post-west” order in Asia. Drawing from small states literature, I examine how Singapore and Taiwan can maintain their sovereignty given the rising Chinese dominance and declining American commitment in the region.