Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Stanford University
church and state, authoritarian politics, political parties, nationalism, state building
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

I am a political scientist focusing on political parties and their impact on state development and policy. My research examined how discredited communist ruling parties could reinvent themselves and succeed in democratic elections, how post-communist parties built the state and state administration by extracting various private benefits, and how churches influence public policy in both democratic and authoritarian settings–and how they find political parties to be both very risky and costly allies.

I have also published on nationalism, informal institutions, and democratization.

Recent Publications


Nations Under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Policy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.


“The Difficulty with Doctrine,” Government and Opposition, April 2016.

“Weapons of the Meek: How Churches Influence Public Policy,” World Politics, January 2016.

“Thy Will Be Done? Religious Nationalism and Its Policy Effects in in East Central Europe,” East European Politics and Societies, May 2015.

“Good Clubs and Community Support: Explaining the Growth of Strict Religions”  Journal of Church and State, 56, 2: 2014.

“Why are there are (Almost) No Post-Communist Christian Democratic Parties?” Party Politics, 19, 2: 2013.

“Why Comparative Politics Needs to take Religion More Seriously,” Annual Review of Political Science, 2012.


Media Coverage

NPR (April 2010), France 24 Radio (November 2014), CBS Radio (November 2014)

“Thousands of Poles took to the streets — and defeated a draconian antiabortion law,” Monkey Cage, October 14, 20 16.

“Why Would Poland Make Its Already Strict Abortion Law Draconian,” Monkey Cage April 18, 2016.

“How Irish Gays Became `Normal’ and Why the Church Was Unable to Do Much About It,”’ Irish Times, May 14, 2015.

“Remembering Duverger,” Mischiefs of Faction guest post, December 31 2014.

“Area Studies Centers are Vital but Vulnerable,” Chronicle of Higher Education,September 30, 2013, also available at

“The Role of God in the 2012 US Election” The Guardian “Comment is Free” Blog, 29 August 2012, with Mia Bruch,

“Let Us Now Praise the Unlikely Triumph of Polish Democracy,” The New Republic, 12 April 2010,


Country Focus
Poland, Eastern Europe

Research Areas

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