Jason Sorens’ Research

Hotlinks: Publications | Datasets | Courses

Jason Sorens

Academic CVLinkedIn Google Scholar

Email: jason – DOT – sorens – AT – aier – DOT – edu

Jason Sorens is Senior Research Faculty at the American Institute for Economic Research. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 2003 and a B.A. in economics and philosophy (with honors) from Washington and Lee University in 1998. He has researched and written more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, a book for McGill-Queens University Press titled Secessionism, and a biennially revised book for the Cato Institute, Freedom in the 50 States (with William Ruger). He is Principal Investigator on the New Hampshire Zoning Atlas. His research has focused on housing policy and land-use regulation, fiscal federalism, U.S. state politics, and movements for regional autonomy and independence around the world. His most recent work studies the effects of zoning regulations on housing supply and cost and the messaging that persuades voters to support more home-building and zoning reform. He has taught at Yale, Dartmouth, Saint Anselm College, and the University at Buffalo and founded the Free State Project as a graduate student. He lives in Amherst, New Hampshire.

Research Publications

2023. “The New Hampshire Zoning Atlas.” American Institute for Economic Research, April 13, 2023. download
2022. “Regulatory Decentralization and Stringency: The Case of Comparative Minimum Wage and Renewable Energy Policies.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism (online first). download
2022. “Changing Minds on Restrictive Zoning: How to Unclog America’s Home Supply.” Manhattan Institute Issue Brief. Online here.
2022. With Mike Matheis. “Framing Affordable Housing: Experimental Evidence from New Hampshire.” Housing Studies (online first). download
2021. Residential Land-Use Regulation in New Hampshire: Causes and Consequences. Concord, N.H.: Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy. download (pdf)
2021. With William Ruger. Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom, 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. project website
2019. With Dylan McLean. “The Changing Ideological Politics of U.S. State Firearms Regulation.” Politics & Policy 47 (4): 638–72. download (pre copy edit version) download (print version)
2018. Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom, 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. 287 pages. With William Ruger.
2018. “The Effects of Housing Supply Restrictions on Partisan Geography.” Political Geography 66 (September): 44–56. article | replication data (Dataverse)
2018. With Christoffer Cappelen. “Precolonial Centralisation, Traditional Indirect Rule, and State Capacity in Africa.” Commonwealth & Comparative Politics 56 (2): 195–215. pre-copy edit version | final, published version | replication data (Dataverse)
2016. Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom, 4th ed. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute. 287 pages. With William Ruger. project website
2016. With Ester Cross. “Arab Spring Constitution-Making: Polarization, Exclusion, and Constraints.” Democratization 23 (7): 1292-1312. download (paywall) | download (pre-copy edit version) | Appendix (PDF)
2016. “Secession Risk and Fiscal Federalism.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 46 (1): 25-50. download (paywall) | download (pre-copy edit full-text)
2014. With William P. Ruger. “Globalisation and Intrastate Conflict: An Empirical Analysis.” Civil Wars 16 (4): 381–401. download | replication data (Dataverse)
2014. “Legal Regimes for Secession: Applying Moral Theory and Empirical Findings.” Public Affairs Quarterly 28 (3): 259-88. download (PDF)
2014. “Fiscal Federalism, Jurisdictional Competition, and the Size of Government.” Constitutional Political Economy 25 (4): 354-75. published version preproof draft (PDF) online appendix Stata replication datasets & do file
2014. “Does Fiscal Federalism Promote Regional Inequality? An Empirical Analysis of the OECD, 1980-2005.” Regional Studies 48 (2): 239-53. download preproof draft Regional economic self-rule dataset: (XLS)
2014. “Corruption, Regulation, and Growth: An Empirical Study of the United States.” Economics of Governance 15 (1): 51-69. With Noel D. Johnson, William Ruger, and Steven Yamarik. download
2013. Freedom in the 50 States 2013: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom. Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University. 223 pages. With William Ruger. project website
2012. “Does Foreign Investment Really Reduce Repression?” International Studies Quarterly 56 (2): 427-436. With William Ruger. preproof draft (PDF) Replication data (Stata 8+) & code (zip).
2012. Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. order here
2011. “Mineral Production, Territory, and Ethnic Rebellion: The Role of Rebel Constituencies.” Journal of Peace Research 48 (5): 571-585. Download here. Stata replication data & code Data Appendix For the full Ethnoregional Mineral Resources Dataset and associated documentation, see the Datasets section below
2011. Freedom in the 50 States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom, 2nd ed. (Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University). With William P. Ruger.
2011. “The Institutions of Fiscal Federalism.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 41 (2): 207-231. Download here. (Data Appendix)
replication data (XLS) updated fiscal federalism data
2010. “The Politics and Economics of Official Ethnic Discrimination: A Global Statistical Analysis, 1950-2003.” International Studies Quarterly. download Stata replication data & code replication output
2009. “Ethnicity and Nationalism in Wars of Secession.” In Robert A. Denemark (ed.), International Studies Encyclopedia (Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell).
2009. Freedom in the 50 States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom (Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University). With William P. Ruger.
2009. “The Partisan Logic of Decentralization in Europe.” Regional and Federal Studies 19 (2): 255-272. Download here.
2009. “Development and the Political Economy of Foreign Aid.” Journal of Private Enterprise 24 (Spring). Download here.
2008. “Regionalists Against Secession: The Political Economy of Territory in Advanced Democracies.” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics vol 14, no 3, pp 325-360. Download here.
2008. “U.S. State and Local Public Policies in 2006: A New Database.” State Politics and Policy Quarterly vol 8, no 3, pp 309-326. With Fait Muedini and William P. Ruger. download paper
2005. “The Cross-Sectional Determinants of Secessionism in Advanced Democracies.” Comparative Political Studies vol 38, no 3, pp 304-326. Download here.
2004. “Globalization, Secessionism, and Autonomy.” Electoral Studies vol 23, no 4, pp 727–752. Download here.
2000. “The Failure to Converge: Why Globalization Doesn’t Cause Deregulation.” Critical Review vol 14, no 1, pp 19–33.

Back to top


  • My Harvard Dataverse
  • New Hampshire Zoning Atlas datasets
  • Regional self-rule index (XLS) and country narratives (PDF) for developing democracies – use header comments in spreadsheet for variable descriptions
  • Secessionist and regionalist parties – download (XLS) – panelwise averages on “avgs” tab, all election-years on “provs” tab, secessionist regions only on “partiesp” tab, variable descriptions in comments. For data sources, see Sorens, “Regionalists Against Secession” and “The Cross-Sectional Determinants of Secessionism.”
  • Fiscal Federalism Dataset: by country, 1950-2006 (XLS, corrected 2/20/12); by region, 1980-2005 (XLS)
  • Global ethnic groups (for correcting Minorities at Risk for selection bias): Stata replication data. For variable descriptions and sources see Sorens, “The Politics and Economics of Official Ethnic Discrimination.”
  • State and Local Public Policies
  • Ethnoregional Mineral Resources Dataset:
    1. full ethnoregion-year data (XLS)
    2. national production figures (XLS)
    3. codebook (DOCX)

Back to top

Courses Taught

  • Political Philosophy (syllabus)
  • State Making and State Breaking
  • Libertarianism
  • American Political Economy
  • Federalism and Decentralization
  • Comparative Political Economy
  • International Political Economy
  • International Politics
  • Politics and Society
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
  • The Political Economy of International Relations

Back to top

Copyright 1995–2021 Jason Sorens