Michael K. Miller

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University
Areas of Expertise:
  • Policy in Other Countries
  • U.S. Foreign Policy
  • Revitalizing U.S. Democracy
  • Voting
  • Immigration

Connect with Michael

About Michael

Miller’s work focuses on democratization, democratic survival, and the effects of competitive elections in autocracies. Since much of U.S. foreign policy is concerned with encouraging regime change and reacting to the policies of autocracies, this has implications for how the U.S. designs democracy promotion and foreign aid conditionality. His other work touches on American voting behavior, election forecasting, and migration policy in autocracies.



"Why Do Voters Lack ID?," Barnard College, 2017.

Examines the reasons that people reported for arriving at the poll without identification during the 2016 Texas election. 

"The Patron’s Dilemma: The Dynamics of Foreign-Supported Democratization" (with Michael K. McKoy). Journal of Conflict Resolution 56, no. 5 (2012): 904-932.

Examines why the U.S. switches support from autocratic allies to democratic movements, focusing on American expectations of policy radicalism and alliance shifts after democratization.

"For the Win! The Effect of Professional Sports Records on Mayoral Elections" Social Science Quarterly 94 (2013): 59-78.

Shows that heavier emigration from autocratic regimes to democracies encourages democratization, suggesting that looser immigration policies in the world’s democracies can promote the spread of democracy.

"Democratic Pieces: Autocratic Elections and Democratic Development since 1815" British Journal of Political Science 45, no. 3 (2015): 501-530.

Shows that the combination of autocracy and elections has a long history, and while elections are only weakly related to democratization, they strongly predict democratic survival after transition. This implies that encouraging election adoption helps to secure democracy in the long run.

"Electoral Authoritarianism and Human Development" Comparative Political Studies 48, no. 12 (2015): 1526-62.

Shows that autocracies with multiparty elections have better outcomes (compared to non-electoral autocracies) in health, education, and gender equality. This implies that encouraging election adoption is a net positive when full democracy cannot be secured. 

In the News

Michael K. Miller quoted on the likelihood of democratic breakdown in the United States in Uri Friedman, "Is American Democracy Really under Threat?" The Atlantic, June 21, 2017.
Michael K. Miller's research on non-political considerations and influences on voter decisions discussed in Paul FarhiMichael K. Miller, "Did Your Team Win? That Might Affect How You Vote," The Washington Post, November 1, 2012.
Michael K. Miller's research on non-political considerations and influences on voter decisions discussed in Patrick HrubyMichael K. Miller, "Football, Weather and Shark Attacks — the Irrational Voter’s Checklist," Washington Times, November 5, 2012.
Michael K. Miller's research on non-political considerations and influences on voter decisions discussed in Joseph StrombergMichael K. Miller, "Is Your Vote Affected by Your Home Team's Wins and Losses? ," Smithsonian Magazine, September 21, 2012.
Michael K. Miller's research on Joshua KeatingMichael K. Miller, "The Case for Holding Bogus Elections," Slate, January 14, 2014.
Interview on autocratic electionsMichael K. Miller, Sun News Canada , January 22, 2014.
"Freedom’s March," Michael K. Miller (with Susan Stokes and Carles Boix), Foreign Policy, May 2013.
"The Surprising Benefits of Autocratic Elections," Michael K. Miller, The Washington Post, April 2, 2015.