About.JPG

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.