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David Scott Szakonyi Faculty Member

This past year I finished my book manuscript on businessperson candidates in Russia, which was accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press. Getting to the finish line occupied much of my fall. The book will be released simultaneously as a hardcover, paperback and e-book in fall 2020. Over the course of the year, I published one co-authored article on clientelism in Russia and Venezuela in World Politics. Over the course of the year, I also submitted four articles to political science and economics journals. As of May 2020, three are still under review (at American Journal of Political Science, American Economic Review, and World Politics). The fourth article, which analyzes how autocrats make decisions about whether and how to commit electoral fraud, received a revision and resubmit from British Journal of Political Science. In May, I completed those revisions and am eagerly awaiting a final decision. I also made substantial progress on my next book project Political Machines at Work: Voter Mobilization and Electoral Subversion in the Workplace, co-authored with Timothy Frye and Ora John Reuter. In October, the three authors convened a workshop to present internally chapter drafts and outline the empirical work still needed to be completed. I took responsibility for several of the meatier quantitative chapters detailing the factors predicting which firms mobilize their workers to vote in elections and how political and economic factors shape their incentives to do so. By May, I had finished drafts of both sets of analysis in anticipation of a second (virtual) author workshop to be held in June. Since January 2018, I have also been working closely with Transparency International – Russia to digitize and standardize millions of income and asset declarations of Russian government officials. So far we have put together a team of five computer scientists to write a sophisticated parser that can scrape thousands of electronic documents and organize the data. This one-of-a-kind resource will allow us to analyze not only where corruption thrives in Russia at the individual level (using data on salary, real estate and cars), but also build a comprehensive map of cadre movements and bureaucratic structures for the entire government manuscript. I expect this data collection effort to fuel a series of papers, if not a second book, in the coming years. I received funding from UFF and NCEEER (the leading donor on post-Soviet politics) to fund this project through the next academic year.

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