“Exposure to the Russian Internet Research Agency foreign influence campaign on Twitter in the 2016 US Election and its relationship to attitudes and voting behavior.”
with Gregory Eady, Jan Zilinsky, Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler and Joshua Tucker
Nature Communications, 2023, 14 (1), 62

Paper Supplementary Replication

There is widespread concern that foreign actors are using social media to interfere in elections worldwide. Yet data have been unavailable to investigate links between exposure to foreign influence campaigns and political behavior. Using longitudinal survey data from US respondents linked to their Twitter feeds, we quantify the relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and attitudes and voting behavior in the 2016 US election. We demonstrate, first, that exposure to Russian disinformation accounts was heavily concentrated: only 1% of users accounted for 70% of exposures. Second, exposure was concentrated among users who strongly identified as Republicans. Third, exposure to the Russian influence campaign was eclipsed by content from domestic news media and politicians. Finally, we find no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior. The results have implications for understanding the limits of election interference campaigns on social media.
@Article{doi:10.1038/s41467-022-35576-9, author = {Eady, Gregory and Paskhalis, Tom and Zilinsky, Jan and Bonneau, Richard and Nagler, Jonathan and Tucker, Joshua A.}, title = "{Exposure to the Russian Internet Research Agency foreign influence campaign on Twitter in the 2016 US election and its relationship to attitudes and voting behavior}", journal = {Nature Communications}, year = {2023}, volume = {14}, number = {1}, pages = {62}, doi = {10.1038/s41467-022-35576-9}, url = {}, }

“Independent Media Under Pressure: Evidence from Russia.”
with Bryn Rosenfeld and Katerina Tertytchnaya
Post-Soviet Affairs, 2022, 38 (3), 155-174

Paper Supplementary

Existing literature recognizes growing threats to press freedom around the world and documents changes in the tools used to stifle the independent press. However, few studies investigate how independent media respond to state pressure in an autocracy, documenting the impact of tactics that stop short of shuttering alternatives to state media. Do independent outlets re-orient coverage to favor regime interests? Or does repression encourage more negative coverage of the regime instead? To shed light on these questions, we investigate how the abrupt removal of independent outlet TV Rain from Russian television providers influenced its coverage. We find that shortly after providers dropped TV Rain, the tone of its political coverage became more positive and its similarity with state-controlled Channel 1 increased. However, these effects were short-lived. Additional evidence suggests that subscription revenue contributed to the station’s resilience. These findings add to our understanding of media manipulation and authoritarian endurance.
@Article{doi:10.1080/1060586X.2022.2065840, author = {Paskhalis, Tom and Rosenfeld, Bryn and Tertytchnaya, Katerina}, title = "{Independent Media Under Pressure: Evidence from Russia}", journal = {Post-Soviet Affairs}, year = {2022}, volume = {38}, number = {3}, pages = {155--174}, doi = {10.1080/1060586X.2022.2065840}, url = {}, }

“Gender, Justice and Deliberation: Why Women Don’t Influence Peace-making.”
with Denisa Kostovicova
International Studies Quarterly, 2021, 65 (2), 263-276

Paper Supplementary Replication

Scholars have pinpointed that women's underrepresentation in peacemaking results in gendered outcomes that do not address women's needs and interests. Despite recent increased representation at the negotiating table, women still have a limited influence on peacemaking outcomes. We propose that differences in female and male speeches reflected in the gendered patterns in discourse during peacemaking explain how women's influence is curtailed. We examine women's speaking behavior in transitional justice debates in the post-conflict Balkans. Applying multimethod quantitative text analysis to over half a million words in multiple languages, we analyze structural and thematic speech patterns. We find that men's domination of turn-taking and the absence of topics reflecting women's needs and interests lead to a gendered outcome. The sequences of men talking after men are longer than those of women talking after women, which restricts women's deliberative space and opportunities to develop and sustain arguments that reflect their concerns. We find no evidence that women's limited influence is driven by lower deliberative quality of their speeches. This study of gendered dynamics at the microlevel of discourse identifies a novel dimension of male domination during peacemaking.
@Article{doi:10.1093/isq/sqab003, author = {Kostovicova, Denisa and Paskhalis, Tom}, title = "{Gender, Justice and Deliberation: Why Women Don't Influence Peacemaking}", journal = {International Studies Quarterly}, year = {2021}, volume = {65}, number = {2}, pages = {263--276}, doi = {10.1093/isq/sqab003}, url = {}, eprint = {}, }

Working papers

“Path to Fake: Who Goes and How Did They Get There?”
with Richard Bonneau, Joshua Tucker and Jonathan Nagler

Dubious websites advancing so called 'fake-news' have received a lot of attention, especially during polarized electoral campaigns. While much of the research has been focused on their pervasiveness and prevalence in voters' media diets, we know less about the people who are prone to consume misleading information online and more importantly how they reach the websites that spread it. To answer these questions we analyze a nationally representative panel collected during the 2018 US midterm election containing detailed information on the web browsing activity of respondents for 2 months during the electoral campaign. We find that, on average, unreliable news constitute about 5% of respondents' online media diet and that older and more conservative respondents are more likely to visit unreliable news websites. While social media platforms form a more prominent source of transitions to untrustworthy than credible websites, unreliable news appear to form a routine, organic part of online news diet for most prominent consumers of 'fake-news'.

“Parliament Strikes Back: Agenda-setting and Power Voids in Early Representative Assemblies”
with Toni Rodon
under review


Previous research has sought to explain the emergence and predominance of early representative assemblies over monarchs. Yet, how parliamentarians behaved during the struggles for power remains largely unknown. We contend that parliamentary elites used periods of uncertainty to set the political agenda and show their strive for sovereignty. We test this claim on seventeenth century England using activities reported in the Journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. In addition, we implement a novel strategy of measuring institutional power based on entropy of topic shares in daily records of parliamentary activity. Our results show that elites strategically used power voids to expand their attention to a wider set of topics, increase their pressure on the monarch and present themselves as rulers which were ready to govern. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of early and contemporary representative assemblies.
@Article{doi:10.31219/, author = {Rodon, Toni and Paskhalis, Tom}, title = "{Parliament Strikes Back: Agenda-setting and Power Voids in Early Representative Assemblies}", journal = {Working Paper}, year = {2021}, doi = {10.31219/}, url = {}, }

“Emotion Shift and Transitional Justice in the Balkans”
with Denisa Kostovicova and Ivor Sokolic

While emotions are central to recovery of post-conflict societies, we only have limited understanding of the role of emotions in transitional justice processes. Although it has been argued that post-conflict transitional justice needs to bring about a shift of negative to positive emotions to promote inter-ethnic reconciliation, we lack empirical evidence of emotion shift over time. To address this gap, we study a five-year-long multi-ethnic justice-seeking process. We focus on communication involving former adversaries, whilst drawing on theories of agonistic deliberation in divided societies, which foreground emotions and conflict in politics, and accounting for varying levels of exposure to violence. The study applies quantitative text analysis to a corpus of 1 million words of multi-lingual transcripts of transitional justice debates in the Balkans, in combination with a six-country survey of some 6,000 respondents. Instead of an emotion shift, we find that emotions remain stable over time, and identify prevalence of positive over negative emotions. At the micro level, dyads of speakers from ethnic groups involved in direct violence are more anxious, but not angrier or sadder, and more embedded in the transitional justice process. At the macro level of broader societies, we find that awareness of transitional justice debates is positively correlated with compassion. This fine-grained comparative study of emotions furthers the understanding of the affective dimension of transitional justice by providing evidence for a contentious but constructive transitional justice-seeking across ethnic lines without an emotion shift.

Selected work in progress

“Interest Group Access and Campaign Spending Limits: Evidence from Brexit”

Scholars have long been focussed on studying lobbying and potential influence that such activities can have on public policy. The ability to lobby state actors, however, critically depends on having access to them in the first place. So far much of the theoretical and empirical literature on potential mechanisms of acquiring access has been limited to donations or other forms of financial transactions. In this study I argue that in pluralist states with campaign spending limits, the influence of money is more restricted and other mechanisms such as economic importance, long period of state-government interactions and ideological proximity play an important role in meeting government officials. I use government transparency reports for 2010-2017 from the ministerial departments in the UK to measure the level of access and saliency of policy issues that provide evidence of the importance of these alternative mechanisms.

“Record Linkage with Text: Merging Data Sets When Information is Limited”

The recent years have seen the emergence of new, more scalable ways to link information about different entities across multiple data sources. However, merging data sets when the number of variables used for record linkage is restricted remains challenging. In this paper I consider the case when the information is limited to a single multi-token text string. This situation often occurs when researchers work with organization names, user accounts or any other short labels. Using Lobbying Disclosure Act data I illustrate substantive implications that the choice of record linkage approach can have in empirical research. I review the existing approaches and consider three types of noise that can typically be encountered in this scenario: character-level, word-level or a combination of both. Furthermore, I conduct a simulation study showing the sensitivity of the existing approaches to the presence of errors occurring at different levels. The results suggest that the optimal choice of a record linkage approach depends on contextual knowledge about the most likely type of noise, as well as stress the need to conduct sensitivity analysis using different record linkage approaches.

“Learning Media Quality from Facebook Data”
with Kevin Aslett, Cody Buntain, Zhanna Terechshenko, Joshua Tucker, Jonathan Nagler and Richard Bonneau

The production, consumption, and dissemination of online news is of growing interest among scholars studying democracy, but siginificant challenges remains for the study of media quality in a comparative perspective, including varying political environments, language barriers, cultural contexts, and differing media regulation. To address these concerns, we leverage a novel comparative data set of links shared on Facebook, made accessible to the research community through the Social Science One research iniative, to study the prevalence of unreliable online news in 27 countries in Europe. We use a supervised model (trained on US data) to predict the credibility of a given news domain based on users’ feedback and behavior. We show that interactions with links to news websites on social media allow us to predict the credibility of news and that a model that learns such relationships is portable across national contexts. Using this model we find an East-West divide between countries in Europe with higher proportion of unreliable news in former socialist countries, as well as in the UK. Furthermore, we find that more recently registered news domains and those registered outside of the country are more likely to be predicted to be the sources of unreliable information.