Graham’s research focuses on migration, foreign investment, and the economic motivations for military conflict. Graham also conducts research on powersharing, unrecognized states, and the enforcement of human rights through quasi-judicial mechanisms at the World Bank. Along with Jonathan Markowitz and Megan Becker, Graham co-directs the Security and Political Economy (SPEC) Lab. The SPEC Lab recruits a diverse population of students, provides applied training in data science and research design, and engages students in every phase of the research process.
Finds that migrants connect the multinational firms they own and manage to valuable social networks back in their homeland. Shows that firms use migrants’ social ties to enforce contracts, manage relationships with government officials, and influence policy.
Examines the Inspection Panel and Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO), which are court-like bodies established by the World Bank to hear human rights complaints related to World Bank projects. Finds that complainants frequently receive positive outcomes in the form of project changes or financial compensation, but that perpetrators are rarely punished.
Finds that transfer restrictions limit investors' ability to freely move funds out a country and to convert funds from local to foreign currency. Finds that while most political risks, like outright expropriation, tend to be lower in democracies, transfer restrictions are equally common across regime types.
Finds that inclusive powersharing enhances democratic survival in post-conflict countries and constraining powersharing does so in all contexts.
Notes that democracies tend to win the wars they fight, but questions remain about why this is the case. Finds that an explanation for democratic success is that democracies fight alongside larger and more powerful coalitions.
Finds that unrecognized states are characterized by stagnant or crumbling economies and political instability, often serve as havens for illicit trade, and challenge the territorial sovereignty of recognized states. Shows that unrecognized statehood can be a remarkably stable outcome even when players on all sides are acting rationally.