I am an associate professor in Cornell University's Department of Government.
My research focuses on Chinese and authoritarian politics. My first book, Cities and Stability: Urbanization, Redistribution, and Regime Survival in China, was published by Oxford University Press. The New York Times profiled the book in January 2015. I currently lead Cornell's China's Cities research group.
My second book, Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts: Ideology, Information, and Authoritarianism in China, argues that numbers came to define Chinese politics, until they did not count what mattered and what they counted did not measure up.
I've written about the politics of statistics in the Covid pandemic at the Washington Post, LA Times, and Foreign Policy. The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog published my thoughts on Xi Jinping's increasingly personal rule, China admitting that its statistics are unreliable, and the political implications of China’s stock market crisis. My article on the quality of Chinese GDP statistics, "Juking the Stats? Authoritarian Information Problems in China," was published by the British Journal of Political Science in 2016.
I delved deeper into the politics of expertise in "A Plague on Politics? The COVID Crisis, Expertise, and the Future of Legitimation" with Michael A. Neblo, which is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review.
My research has been supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation, Cornell's Institute for the Social Sciences & East Asia Program, Ohio State University's Mershon Center & Institute for Population Research, NASA, and Yale University's MacMillan Center, among others.
I hosted and hope to return to the ChinaLab podcast, discussing current research on China.