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Keith A. Preble received his PhD in Political Science from the Department of Political Science at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany, State University of New York with a focus on international relations and comparative politics.

Dissertation: My dissertation focuses on how states (and their firms) engage in opportunism when economic sanctions are imposed. Because opportunism is ubiquitous in international relations (Lake 1996), variation in the type and severity of this opportunistic behavior should be present and identifiable. I show how the very policies that lead to the imposition of economic sanctions undermine the effectiveness of these same policies as the states most likely to be targeted by economic sanctions are the ones most likely to receive sanctions busting trade.

I then explore variation in this dynamic by looking at the European Union. First, I show that, while EU member states have a reputation for trade-based sanctions busting, the development of the EU’s common market provides a path of least resistance for firms that makes sanctions busting trade less attractive. I further show how even as opportunities for sanctions busting increase across time, EU member states capitalize on these opportunities less and less as the common market develops. Using intra-EU trade share as a proxy for Europeanization, I find that as intra-EU trade increases, the likelihood of sanctions busting trade declines.

Lastly, I show how some supranational policies developed by the EU may at times encourage opportunistic behavior, which renders EU, UN, and other multilateral arms embargoes less effective. In this last chapter, I demonstrate how international institutions can lead to disproportionate gains, a finding that is counterintuitive as the literature on international institutions argues that institutions should improve information asymmetry. I show how the EU’s Common Position on arms exports, which pushes for greater transparency on arms export and serves as a solution to address this asymmetry, has a counterintuitive effect by encouraging arms exports that undermine the impact and effectiveness of arms embargoes.

Research Interests: economic sanctions, sanctions enforcement; US foreign policy; foreign policy analysis; international trade; quantitative and qualitative methods

Regional Interests: Europe/EU (especially Italian politics), North Korea, Southeast Asia

A geospatial network map across time from my recent paper with Charmaine Willis, “Trading with Pariahs: International Trade and North Korean Sanctions.”

I have taught the following courses for undergraduates: Introduction to American Politics, American Foreign Policy, European Politics, Homeland Security, International Organizations, and Research and Writing Seminar. Copies of syllabi and course assignments can be viewed and downloaded from the Teaching tab.

Interests outside political science:
Besides political science, Keith has an interest in genealogy; Italian language, art, and translation; history; photography; music (he plays the flute, recorder, and piano); traveling; and web design.

Since 2005, he has operated a popular blog on Italian language that evolved into a small publishing company. Since 2014, Keith and his coauthors have published five Italian language guides. In 2021, the web site has shift operations to Substack in order to reach a larger audience, https://paroladelgiorno.substack.com.