Refereed Publications

Alexander, Dan and Bryan Rooney. Vote Buying by the United States in the United Nations.” International Studies Quarterly. 2019. 63(1): 168-176.

Rooney, Bryan. “Emergency Powers in Democracies and International Conflict.”  Journal of Conflict Resolution. 2019. 63(3): 644-671.

Rooney, Bryan. “Sources of Leader Support and Interstate Rivalry.” International Interactions. 2018. 44(5): 969-983.

DiLorenzo, Matthew and Bryan Rooney. “Domestic Uncertainty, Third-Party Resolve, and International Conflict.” Journal of Peace Research. 2018. 55(4): 445-459.

Works in Progress

Emergency Powers and the Heterogeneity of Terror in Democratic States

Recent terrorist violence has led several states to grant extraordinary powers to the executive. Scholars have not yet examined whether the provision of such emergency powers influences the probability of future terrorist attacks. I argue that when democratic states grant emergency powers to the executive, domestic incentives can push leaders to take repressive actions that are counterproductive for reducing future terrorist violence. However, these domestic incentives vary depending on the in-group or out-group nature of the terrorist group. Using data on emergency provisions within democracies, I test the relationship between states of emergency, emergency power strength, and the probability of terrorist violence. In a global sample of democratic states, I find that while emergency powers increase future attacks from separatist groups, they have no effect on forms of terror that reflect extreme positions within the political order. These results express the conditional nature of executive freedom in combatting terrorism.

See here for the latest version of this paper.

When Democracy has a Fever: States of Emergency as a Symptom and Accelerator of Autocratization (with Anna Lührmann).

V-Dem Working Paper No. 85. University of Gothenburg: Varieties of Democracy Institute.

Featured on The Monkey Cage

States of emergency grant chief executives the power to circumvent democratic constraints in order to combat existential threats. As such they are ideal tools to erode democratic institutions while maintaining the illusion of constitutional legitimacy. Therefore, it seems plausible that states of emergency are associated with a heightened risk of autocratization a decline in a regime’s democratic attributes. Despite this link and the contemporary relevance of both autocratization and states of emergency, no prior study has empirically tested this relationship. This paper fills this gap using data on 60 democracies for 1974 to 2016. We find that democracies are 59% more likely to erode under a state of emergency. Like a fever, states of emergency are a potential symptom of a seriously ill democracy and they may accelerate democratic decay.

See here for the latest version of this paper.

Political Competition, Uncertainty, and Investment Behavior (with Matthew DiLorenzo)

Firms and individuals condition their investment choices on domestic political factors in host countries. Existing research describes how government preferences and policy choices influence relative investment worth. Scholars have therefore argued that investors take a cautious approach in response to potential government turnover. We argue that it is not simply the existence, but also the results of this domestic competition that matter. Domestic turnover creates uncertainty about the future direction of policy in a variety of areas relevant to investment decisions — e.g., changes in privileged relationships between the state and certain domestic producers or industries, trade barriers, tax policies. Firms should therefore hesitate to invest following domestic turnover in potential host countries. However, various institutional features of democracies — transparency, policy consistency across ruling coalitions, and peaceful transitions of power — will mitigate the extent to which domestic turnover causes uncertainty and deters investment. Using data on changes in governing coalitions, we find support for these expectations. While non-democracies see lower levels of foreign direct investment, portfolio investment in bonds, and non-financial investment in the wake of a change in the source of leader support, investment to democracies does not change significantly following domestic turnover. Our analysis enhances our understanding of the determinants of investment and provides further evidence that the distinction between democratic and non-democratic institutions matters for foreign and domestic policy in a new empirical domain.

Please contact me or Matthew DiLorenzo for the latest version of this paper.

Emergency Powers and State Capacity (with Ali Fisunoglu)

States that grant their leaders extraordinary powers in times of emergency do so to better allow the leader to safely navigate the state through crisis. Implicit in this choice is the assumption that the state will better retain its capacity when confronted with an emergency situation if they allow for institutional emergency powers. However, this remains an untested proposition. In this article, we challenge this assumption and argue that the relationship between emergency powers and state capacity depends on both the nature of the emergency itself as well as the type of capacity in question. We find that emergency powers better allow the government to extract resources from the public during periods of emergency. However, we further find that it is only in national political emergencies where these resources are well allocated. After both natural disasters and extra-territorial emergencies, increased emergency power strength leads to failures of government allocation. This suggests that emergency powers are not a panacea guarding against the ills of crisis.

Please contact me or Ali Fisunoglu for the latest version of this paper.

International Context and the Effect of Political Turnover on Foreign Policy Stability (with Matthew DiLorenzo and Joshua Hastey)

Recent studies demonstrate that turnover in domestic political leadership is associated with change in states’ foreign policies. While domestic changes matter even after controlling for international factors, many theories of international relations imply that international factors should overwhelm or moderate the effects of domestic turnover on foreign policy change. Yet existing studies tend to focus on other domestic-level variables (e.g., domestic political institutions or winning coalition size) as constraining factors on domestic turnover. We evaluate whether three sets of international factors that others have argued might outweigh the influence of domestic changes – security environment, institutional socialization, and economic interests – moderate the effects of domestic coalition changes on variance in voting patterns in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). To do this, we interact a measure of domestic coalition turnover with a variety of proxies for a state’s international environment in a statistical model of voting consistency. We find that although various international factors are associated with greater consistency in UNGA voting behavior, the effects of domestic change on foreign policy tend to persist regardless of potential international constraints. As such, the results reinforce the importance of understanding the role of domestic political change in shaping foreign policy. 

See here for the latest version of this paper.

Emergency Powers in Democratic States: Introducing The DEP Dataset

This article discusses the content and causes of emergency powers in democratic states. It makes two main contributions. First, it introduces the Democratic Emergency Powers (DEP) dataset, which codifies formal rules of institutional change during periods of emergency for all democracies from 1800 to 2012. These data are important because often state institutions in times of emergency differ dramatically from those in times of relative calm, and this influences government decision-making during times of crisis. I discuss the collection process and develop a measure of the latent strength in each of these emergency provisions. Second, this article examines the determinants of emergency power strength in democratic nations cross nationally. I find that previous and current conflict experience influence emergency power provision and strength, but also that domestic determinants have an impact on the types of instruments states institutionalize for times of emergency.

See here for the latest version of this paper.