Research Interests

I have worked in the political science subfields of comparative politics, international relations, and U.S. politics. In comparative politics I have studied the conditions that undergird effective democratic governance in modern societies, drawing mostly on field research in Western Europe. My most widely cited research in this subfield explored why some local governments in Italy worked well, while others failed; I found the answer in social capital, that is, the degree of civic engagement and social connectedness in different parts of Italy. My research in international relations investigated the role of domestic influences on international cooperation and conflict. In particular, I developed a model of two-level games that synthesizes the simultaneous domestic and international negotiations that frequently characterize international relations. My most recent research has centered on the "bowling alone" hypothesis, that is, the general erosion of social capital (social connectedness, trust, civic engagement) in the contemporary United States. I have examined both the causes and the consequences of this trend. I am currently working with public officials and local activists to find possible remedies.

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Section 53: Social and Political Sciences