Ae sil Woo

Ae sil Woo 

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Merced. My primary research interests focus on institutions in dictatorships, particularly on arrangements of legislative procedures. My research has been published in the Journal of Politics. I am currently serving as an International Relations Editorial Assistant at the Journal of Politics.

My dissertation, "Designing the Rules of the Game: Legislative Processes in Authoritarian Legislatures," explores why dictators create heterogeneous legislative institutions and how those institutions affect a variety of political outcomes including repression and dissent. In the project, I show formally that legislative processes that allocate power to members of the opposition produce similar policy outcomes as those produced via processes where dictators monopolize legislative power. In my job market paper, I argue that dictators manage the tradeoff between minimizing opposition threat and legislative policy loss by strategically designing the legislative process. Using spatial models, I identify the dictator’s optimal legislative design and find empirical support for the expectation that opposition threat leads dictators to prefer the optimal design over others.

My interest in autocratic institutions extends to the examination of the influence of these institutions on domestic conflict, including opposition dissent and government repression.

Seeing through another’s eyes - from where they stand and attending to what they attend to - serves to shift our vision from the one dimensional to a more multidimensional view.
— Sousanis 2015


Working Papers

Opposition Threat and Legislative Process in Dictatorships

Institutional Antidotes: Legislative Power-Sharing and Managing Policy Loss (with Nathan W. Monroe)

Press Freedom in Dictatorships and Voluntary Selection of Media Bias (with JunHyeok Jang)

Leader Strength, Status Quos, and Legislative Choice in Dictatorships

Design to Lose? Opposition Boycott and Legislative Process in Dictatorships




How To Be a Dictator (Instructor). Department of Political Science, UC Merced. Spring 2020 (Scheduled)

International Relations (Teaching Assistant). Dr. Alex Kroeger. Department of Political Science, UC Merced. Fall 2018

Political Violence (Teaching Assistant). Dr. Courtenay R. Conrad. Department of Political Science, UC Merced. Summer 2016

International Organization (Teaching Assistant). Dr. Emily Hencken Ritter. Department of Political Science, UC Merced. Spring 2015




Macroeconomics (Teaching Assistant). Dr. Jason Lee. Department of Economics, UC Merced. Summer 2017

Econometrics (Teaching Assistant). Dr. Robert Innes. Department of Economics, UC Merced. Fall 2016; Fall 2019

Microeconomics (Teaching Assistant). Dr. Gabriela Rubio. Department of Economics, UC Merced. Economics. Fall 2015

Calculus I (Teaching Assistant). Dr. Christopher Sandoval. Department of Mathematics, UC Merced. Summer 2018



Please email me at awoo9[at] or complete the form below.

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