Journal Papers (Peer Reviewed)

2024. “Contractualism in Post-Colonial State-Building: A Liberal Approach to Sovereignty and Governmentality.” Review of Austrian Economics. . DOI: 10.1007/s11138-024-00640-8.

2024. “Can Institutions Explain Mass Violence? Amhara 'Settler' Discourse and Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism. Nations and Nationalism. DOI: 10.1111/nana.13004.

2023. “College Diversity Politics and American Higher Education: An Institutional Analysis.” Society, 60, 983-993. DOI: 10.1007/s12115-023-00911-3.

2022. “Realist Perspectives on Nile Politics: Conflict and Cooperation Between Ethiopia and Egypt.” African Security 15(3), 213-236. DOI: 10.1080/19392206.2022.2081763.

2022. “Elites, Rents, and Transitions: A New Institutionalist View of Ethiopia’s Political Development.” Africa Today 68(3), 65-86. DOI: 10.2979/africatoday.68.3.04

2021. “From Red Sea to the Nile: Water, Power, and Politics in Northeast Africa.” Third World Quarterly 42(12), 2883-2901. DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2021.1977622.

Working Papers

Partaw, M. and Demerew, K. “Institutional Logic of Fragile States: From South Sudan to Afghanistan .” The Journal of the Middle East and Africa. (under review)

Works In Progress

Roach, S., Hudson, D., and Demerew, K. Nile Basin Politics: Cooperative Peace, Hegemony, and the New Riparian Reality. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. (Co-editing a book under contract)

Demerew, K. “State-building on the Nile: Domestic Politics and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.” In Roach, S., Hudson, D., and Demerew, K. Nile Basin Politics: Cooperative Peace, Hegemony, and the New Riparian Reality. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. (Book chapter -- in progress)

Violence, Rents, and Institutions: Political Development and State-building in Africa. (Book manuscript – early stages)

Contracting the State: Economic Freedom and Self-Governance in Africa. (Book manuscript - conceptual stages)

Research Statement

As a scholar specializing in the Political Economy of Development and Conflict and Security, with a regional emphasis on Northeast Africa, my research engages with two broad themes, both of which center on institutions, incentives, and constraints in comparative politics and international relations. By merging the two research agendas presented below, I aim to contribute to policy-relevant issues in development, diplomacy, education, and civil society. This research has so far resulted in five peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Nations and Nationalism, Third World Quarterly, and Society.

In the first research track, I explore how governing elites employ rents to manage contending elites, who pose a threat of violence, and the resulting political order. My dissertation, “Violence, Rents, and Elites: Institutional Determinants of Political Order in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and South Sudan,” used a new institutionalist lens and a methodology that included elite interviews to examine how institutional constraints and elite choices shape political development in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and South Sudan. I argue that the violent capabilities of contending elite groups shape patronage-rents relations, and institutional incentives direct political transitions. My findings suggest that standardization of elite privileges enhances political maturity, as evidenced in Rwanda, whereas ethnicization of political rents and lack of elite cohesion impede development, as in Ethiopia and South Sudan. I have expanded this research to account for institutional discourse effects using my vast set of data from elite interviews, and am developing a manuscript on institutions and discourse. The culmination of this research program will be a book manuscript titled, Violence, Rents, and Institutions: Political Development and State-building in Africa. I am also calibrate new institutionalist theory to account for policy challenges, such as the interplay between discourse and violence in African states, and institutional norms of diversity in American higher education.

Simultaneously, my secondary research program evaluates external constraints like foreign policy and globalization on statecraft and institutional outcomes in African states. Through case studies of conflicts over the Nile River and the Red Sea, I have developed accounts of interstate rivalry and resource competition, where domestic and ideational variables mediate anarchy’s effects. I have published my findings on this in the journals, Third World Quarterly and African Security, and am currently co-editing a book on Nile Basin Politics. Looking forward, I intend to move beyond the effects of structural anarchy to explore how economic globalization impacts development in African states. In an article published in Review of Austrian Economics, I developed a liberal theory of contractualism that addresses the sovereignty and governmentality gaps in African states, which I shall to assess political and economic transactions and transformations in the African context. This work involves field research in Rwanda, investigating the microeconomic outcomes of emerging development technologies like ICT and blockchain on impoverished communities. The goal of this research is to understand the outcomes of interactions between entrepreneurs, the state, and new technologies, culminating in a second book, tentatively titled, Contracting the State: Self-Governance and Economic Freedom in Africa. Ultimately, I aim to devise responsive solutions for reorienting development policy that balances liberal ideals of contractualism with the structural realities of globalization.