Graeme Robertson


Graeme Robertson is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at Columbia University. He received his B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, and his M.A. in Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies from Harvard University. He is the author of "Leading Labor: Unions, Politics and Protest in New Democracies" (Comparative Politics, forthcoming) and, with Alfred Stepan, of "An "Arab" More than "Muslim" Electoral Gap" (Journal of Democracy, July 2003).

His dissertation investigates the implications for democratic development of emerging institutions of interest articulation and representation in new democracies. Focusing on Russia, he presents a new theoretical perspective on patterns of worker protest and passivity during Russia’s economic crisis of the last decade. His work integrates the quantitative analysis of a comprehensive new database of protest events with detailed qualitative case research to link institutional features of the political economy to the capacity of regional elites to manipulate levels of strike activity, as part of a bargaining process with Federal authorities. Combining these elements, he shows how elite actors are able to manipulate popular protest in an environment, typical of new democracies, in which institutional constraints on the regional executives are weak. His research suggests that in such circumstances, the prospects for the emergence of representative liberal democracy are dim.

This research is part of a broader agenda that looks at the development of interest representation after the establishment of formal electoral institutions in the post-Communist states and elsewhere. In particular, he is interested in how institutions and practices inherited from previous regimes evolve and affect the development of new political and economic systems.

When not interviewing labor leaders in Siberia and the Far East, he supports other lost causes, such as the Scottish soccer team and the Boston Red Sox, and is an enthusiastic distance runner.

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