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Dr Edward Goldring



Ed Goldring is a comparative political scientist interested in authoritarianism across the world, and especially in North Korea. His primary research interests are autocratic elite politics and how they relate to authoritarian survival. He is also interested in the international determinants of authoritarian breakdown and democratization. 
Before starting at York in 2021, Ed was a postdoctoral fellow at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and prior to that a predoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California’s Korean Studies Institute. Ed holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Missouri, an MA in Intelligence and International Security from King’s College London, and a BSc in Politics from the University of Bristol.



Ed’s main research project is a book manuscript, Purges: A Dictator’s Fight to Survive, which examines the causes of elite purges and their effects on autocratic survival. The book argues that threats to a dictator’s survival not just from elites, but also from the people affects patterns of purges, and that rather than fomenting instability, purges help dictators survive. A book workshop was held in July 2021.
A second book project (with Peter Ward) examines the leadership transition in North Korea from Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un. The book explores how Kim Jong Il manipulated elites so that Kim Jong Un was accepted as successor, and also how Kim Jong Un managed elites after he took power. The project relies on an original dataset of all North Korean leadership events between 1994 and 2021, as well as biographical data on hundreds of North Korean elites.
Additional projects include empirical analyses of why dictators purge specific individuals (with Austin S. Matthews), quantitative analysis of North Korean propaganda to understand North Korea’s mindset to negotiations with the US during the Trump administration (with Ji Yeon ‘Jean’ Hong), and a study of Chinese surveillance technology (with Sheena Chestnut Greitens). Methodologically, Ed’s work relies on diverse research methods (quantitative, qualitative, text-as-data, and experimental) and original data to gain leverage over theoretically important questions with implications for real-world politics.


Selected publications

Ed’s publications include:

  • “To Purge or Not to Purge? An Individual-Level Quantitative Analysis of Elite Purges in Dictatorships.” British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming (with Austin S. Matthews).
  • “All Peacekeeping is Local: Measuring Subnational Variation in Peacekeeping Effectiveness.” International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming (with Bryce W. Reeder and Michael Hendricks).
  • “Rethinking Democratic Diffusion: Bringing Regime Type Back In.” 2020. Comparative Political Studies 53(2): 319-353 (with Sheena Chestnut Greitens).
  • “Pre-election Violence and Territorial Control: Political Dominance and Subnational Election Violence in Polarized African Electoral Systems.” 2020. Journal of Peace Research 57(1): 93-110 (with Michael Wahman).
  • “Should We Talk About the Weather? How Party Competition and Coalition Participation Influence Parties’ Attention to Economic Issues.” 2020. Party Politics 26(6): 730-743 (with Brandon ‘Beomseob’ Park, and Laron K. Williams).
  • “Fighting for a Name on the Ballot: Constituency-Level Analysis of Nomination Violence in Africa.” 2018. Democratization 25(6): 996-1015 (with Michael Wahman).
  • “Help is Close at Hand? Proximity and the Effectiveness of Peacekeepers.” 2018. Research & Politics, October-December (with Michael Hendricks).

photo of Ed Goldring

Contact details

Dr Edward Goldring
Department of Politics
University of York
YO10 5DD

Feedback and Guidance hours, (Summer term) Career break