Research

Current research projects:

< p>POLITICS OF REGULATION AND REGULATORY REFORMS

A strand of my research focuses on the politics of regulation and regulatory reforms, particularly focusing on middle-income countries (MICs). So far, I have looked at the cross-national and cross-sectoral variation in regulatory reforms, accountability, politics of regulatory agencies and the varying impact of external actors in the making, sustainability and the erosion of regulatory institutions in the MICs.

“Independence of Telecom Agencies in Middle-Income Countries.”

This project, which I carry out with Aslı Unan (King’s College, London), examines the independence of regulatory agencies in the telecommunications sector, looking at the determinants of cross-country variation. It inquires about the differential impact of economic and political parameters on different income groups, finding out a trend of decoupling between high-income and middle-income countries. 

“Europeanization beyond Europe: European Neighborhood Policy and Regulatory Reforms in North Africa,” funded by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey.

This project focuses on the recent regulatory reforms in the countries included in the European Neighborhood Policy, examining the impact of the EU and other external actors as well as domestic institutional set-ups. Exploring the regulatory changes in competition, energy and telecommunications, the project examines cross-national and cross-regional variation regarding the levels of institutional adoption in the countries involved in the European Neighborhood Policy.

Regulatory Agencies: Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness

I have been involved in a research project entitled “the Political Economy of Regulatory Agencies: Accountability, Transparency and Effectiveness (AccountReg), led by the Barcelona Institute of International Studies (IBEI) and funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness  in the period 2013-2016 (CSO2012-39693). An output of this project has been the following edited book: Accountability and Regulatory Governance, Audiences, Controls and Responsibilities and Responsibilities in the Politics of Regulation, published by Springer. See the book info here.


EDUCATION-GAP and the “MIDDLE-INCOME TRAP”

I am part of the Education Politics and Policy Related Group (see the website) of American Political Science Association (APSA), which brings together scholars working on research questions pertinent to the politics of education.

Politics of skills in the MICs

A strand of my research agenda studies the links between institutions of education and the “middle-income-trap,” focusing on both basic education and skill institutions. In collaboration with Merve Sancak (Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute),  the skill-gap project explores the recent institutional changes in labor market institutions specialized in skill-formation and development, aiming to explain differential outcomes.

We have recently published an article drawing from the cases of Mexico and Turkey and examining the ways in which these two markets have gone through varying paths of institutional change regarding their skill systems, this article analyzes the differential impact of external actors, respective state agencies and business organizations on the changes in skill systems, along with their outcomes. Entitled, “When politics gets in the way: domestic coalitions and the making of skill systems,” the article came out of the Review of International Political Economy (RIPE) in 2018. 

The Rise of Downgrading Coalitions in the MICs.

This project focuses on the basic education and the recent reforms undertaken in Turkey, examining the coalitional basis of policy changes with respect to societal constituency and incumbent’s responses.

 

TRANSFORMATION of INTEREST POLITICS 

I have been working on interest politics and their transformation in the context of domestic markets’ increasing exposure to the forces of globalization, especially focusing on upper-middle income countries that have gone through substantial liberalization processes since the 1980s. I am particularly interested in the diverging national trajectories against the backdrop of global market integration.

In a recent article, “Market integration and transformation of business politics: diverging trajectories of corporatisms in Mexico and Turkey,” which came out of Socio-Economic Review in 2018, I analyzed the major changes in business politics in different directions in these two countries through their integration to global markets, marked by the rise of ‘elite-pluralism’ dominated by large firms in Mexico, and the emergence of ‘competitive corporatism’ vastly controlled by the executive branch in Turkey. Pointing out the ways in which domestic political arrangements refract the impact of global forces, this study indicates that the market integration process engenders diverging effects in national settings contingent upon executive–legislative relations. Where power is concentrated in the executive, market integration upholds a form of corporatism; and where legislative power increases, it promotes a form of pluralism. Based on the empirics of Mexico and Turkey, this article shows the links between increasing legislative power and emerging legislative lobbying in Mexico in contrast to increasing executive power and centralization and concentration of interest politics in Turkey. 

In an earlier research project, Basak Kus (Wesleyan University) and I studied the diverging trajectories in labor politics in Mexico and Turkey. Entitled “United we restrain, divided we rule: Neoliberal Reforms and Labor Unions in Turkey and Mexico,” the article we published out of this project analyzes the dynamics behind the varying transformations of labor politics in these two countries. Identifying the ways governments dealt with unions in the context of global integration,  we cross-examined the evolution of labor union movements in the respective polities, finding increasing concentration in Turkey, as opposed to intensifying fragmentation in Mexico. We discussed how the historically varying patterns of state-labor interaction played a role in the emergence of such divergent forms of change in these nations’ union movements, notwithstanding the common objective shared by both their governments of appeasing the unions.


SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE: EXPANSION OF SOCIAL WELFARE IN MICS

Situated in the broad agenda on the recent expansion of social welfare regimes in MICs under democratic and authoritarian regimes, and steered by both left-wing and right-wing incumbents, this project particularly focuses on social assistance. The project has a couple of distinct components: The first explores the attitudinal consequences of social assistance programs; while the second examines the regulation of social assistance regimes in MICs.