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Adam Casey

Adam E. Casey is a WCED Postdoctoral Fellow for 2021-23. His research broadly considers the relationship between dictators and their armed forces. He is currently working on two book manuscripts he will develop as a postdoctoral fellow. The first considers the relationship between foreign support and authoritarian rule. While conventional wisdom suggests that great power patrons prop up client dictators, this is in fact largely assumed rather than systematically analyzed. Using original data on all client regimes since 1945, Casey finds that support from the United States, France, and Great Britain is not associated with client regime survival. Instead, only Soviet support reduces the risk of regime collapse. He explains this variation by considering the divergent effects of client regime support strategies on military loyalty and the likelihood of democratization. Western sponsorship rendered client dictatorships especially vulnerable to military coups and occasionally to demands for democratization. By contrast, Soviet sponsorship sharply reduced the risk of a military coup and, until the waning years of the USSR, protected regimes from demands for democracy.

Adam's second book project (with Dan Slater and Jean Lachapelle) considers the origins of military political power in the postcolonial world. In particular, this project investigates why some militaries have come to dominate their polities, while others have been tightly controlled by political leadership. The authors argue that in order to understand the conditions that lead to either military autonomy or civilian political control, we must understand the origins of military forces. Simply put, when rulers do not create and embed mechanisms of political control in their armed forces from the beginning, it is very difficult to subsequently rein in militaries. In order to build this argument the authors marshal evidence from the entire universe of postcolonial states, including detailed original data on the origins of all military forces.


  • Ph.D., Political Science, University of Toronto, 2020
  • B.A., Political Science, University of Minnesota, 2014

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, Trudeau Centre for Peace, Conflict and Justice, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto (2019-20)
  • Connaught International Scholar, University of Toronto (2014-19)

Personal website:

Following his WCED Fellowship, Adam accepted a position in the United States government.