Protest and Electoral Authoritarian Regimes
This research focuses on state-society relations within electoral authoritarian regimes (EARs). Assisted by Anton Sobolev (HSE, UCLA) and Irina Soboleva (HSE, Columbia University), Smyth directed the collection of individual level data on participants in anti-regime protests and pro-regime rallies in 2011-2012 and a survey of non-participants. These data were supplemented with focus groups, regional event counts, and a follow-up study of campaign volunteers in the Alexei Navalny campaign. Smyth has also written on the role of symbolic politics in Putin’s Russia and the role of social media and political leadership in protest and rally participation. With funding from the Ostrom Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis, she has extended this framework to study Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution, Ukraine’s Euromaidan, and protests in Romania.
Studying Russia’s Authoritarian Turn: New Directions in Political Research on Russia, Russian Politics, 2016 (Special Issue Editor)
Navalny’s Gamesters: Protest, Opposition Innovation, and Authoritarian Stability in Russia (with Irina Soboleva), Russian Politics, 2016
The Art of the Possible: Institutions and Policy Outcomes
This research, with William Bianco, Christopher Kam, and Itai Sened, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), examines the influence of legislator and party preferences on political outcomes from regime transition to policy bundles. Relying on the uncovered set (UCS), this work models the potential outcome of majority rule decision making in democracies, autocracies, and electoral authoritarian regimes from the US, to the UK, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary and Hong Kong.
The Uncovered Set and its Applications (with Christopher Kam, Itai Sened, and Regina Smyth), in Elgar Handbook of Social Choice and Voting. Jac Heckelman and Nicholas Miller, eds., Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishers, 2016.
Predicting Majority Rule: Evaluating The Uncovered Set and the Strong Point (with Jacob Bower-Bir, Nicholas D’Amico, Christopher Kam, Itai Sened, and Regina Smyth), Journal of Theoretical Politics 2015
Political Parties and Regime Change
Funded by IREX, NSF, and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, this work analyzes party development through the lens of relationships among voters, candidates, and party elites. Smyth’s 2006 book, Democracy Without Foundation, explores how the lack of information and resources in the context of electoral institutions designed to preclude Communist resurgence provided disincentives for investment in party organizations. In 2013, Smyth began a follow up study on the evolution of Russian political parties and electoral politics in collaboration with Rostislav Turovsky (HSE).
Engineering Victory: Institutional Reform, and Formal Institutions and the Formation of a Hegemonic Party Regime in the Russian Federation (with Anna Lowry and Brandon Wilkening), Post-Soviet Affairs, 2007