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Adam Casey

Adam Casey is a WCED Research Fellow for 2020-21. His research broadly considers the relationship between external intervention and domestic politics in nondemocracies. His book project focuses on the effects of foreign support on the survival of authoritarian client regimes. Conventional wisdom suggests that great power patrons prop up client dictatorships. However, this is generally assumed rather than systematically analyzed. This project provides a comprehensive reassessment of the relationship between foreign sponsorship and authoritarian survival using original data on autocratic client regimes in the postwar period. These results demonstrate that patronage from Western powers—the United States, France, and the United Kingdom—is not associated with client regime survival. Instead, only Soviet sponsorship reduces the risk of regime collapse. This divergence can be explained by the effects of differing strategies of foreign sponsorship on client regime coup vulnerability and the likelihood of democratization. Soviet clients received direct aid in rendering their regimes invulnerable to military coups and demands for democratization. In contrast, Western patrons did not support the creation of authoritarian institutions designed to forestall coups, and reacted ambivalently or supportively to democratization in client dictatorships.

As a fellow, Adam will continue to develop his book manuscript, incorporating new archival data as well as additional contemporary and historical case studies. He will also advance a series of related projects, including additional research on social revolutions, the role of foreign military advisors in coups and counterinsurgency, and the relationship between the origins of military forces and authoritarian survival.


  • 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)