Nicholas R. Davis, PhD


About Me

I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee May 2020. My committee chair was Dave Armstrong, currently at Western University in Ontario, Canada. My fields of study were comparative politics and international relations.

My dissertation applies a theory of regime-level learning to explain why authoritarian regimes persist in the face of existential challenges. My project grew out of an interest in authoritarian politics, and the interesting puzzle of the paucity of democratization in the Middle East and North Africa. I use combination of human and machine coding of country reports scraped from the Freedom House website to create a new measure of regime liberalization and deliberalization. The "ensemble of ensembles" machine learning approach I develop in the project will eventually be made available on GitHub.

To access my CV, use the menu tab above or click here.


My primary research interests revolve around persistent authoritarianism and comparative democratization, as well as the role of political institutions in either strengthening democratic societies or maintaining authoritarian rule. I also am interested in how institutions work to mitigate intrastate conflict.

My research often employs advanced quantitative methods, such as Bayesian modeling, text analysis, machine learning, multiple imputation, mixture modeling, and matching. As such I have engaged in research and collaborated on projects in a diverse array of substantive areas.

You can find more information about my research and other projects I have contributed to by following the link above to my research page.


I have had the privilege of teaching courses at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, and University of Wisconsin-Parkside. I currently teach at UW-Milwaukee as an associate lecturer. I enjoy teaching, and I look forward to the opportunity to teach new courses in comparative politics, international relations, or empirical methodology.

You can find more information about courses I have taught (including evaluations) as well as invited talks and seminars I have run by following the link above to my teaching page.