The Department is proud to have many excellent Ph.D. candidates on the academic market this year. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our job candidates, faculty members, the Graduate Coordinator on staff, or the Director of Graduate Studies. Candidates, please complete this form.
International Political Economy, Comparative Political Economy, Post-Communist Politics
Dissertation Title: Rising Tides, Rocking Boats: Foreign Direct Investment and Globalization’s “Insecure Winners” in Eastern Europe
Description: My dissertation introduces the interests of globalization’s “insecure winners”—those who have greater opportunity but face greater economic uncertainty as a result of globalization—into the discussion of the globalization-welfare state nexus. Using original survey data from matched populations in the Ukraine, as well as cross-national data and a most-similar case study of firms, this dissertation shows that workers at multinational corporations report higher pay and job satisfaction than workers at domestic firms. However, they also perceive higher risks of job loss and feel that, in the event of job loss, their job prospects are inferior to their current employment. As a result, they express preferences for more welfare-state protections, in spite of their privileged status. However, they do not oppose globalization. These findings indicate that the “winner”-“loser” dichotomy, often used to discuss the politics of globalization (and particularly the globalization-induced demand for social protections), excludes important constituencies whose political preferences are strongly influenced by both advantage and insecurity.
Committee: Stephan Haggard (Chair), Philip Roeder, Megumi Naoi, Gordon Hanson (IRPS), Edmund Malesky (Duke University)
Political theory, history of political thought (especially early modern and nineteenth century), history of science, democratic theory, identity politics, politics and scientific communication.
Dissertation Title: Rational Irrationality: Slavery, Eugenics, and the Politics of Darwinism
Description: My research focuses on America’s relationship to Darwinian evolution. I argue that scholars have inadequately viewed Americans’ beliefs about evolution to be the product of religious reaction or educative failure. A fuller interpretation would pay attention to the role that politics has played. In the nineteenth century, Darwinian evolution became intertwined with scientific discussions about race and became associated with the politics of radical Republicanism after the Civil War. These “political controversies” led to a decrease in the trust that citizens had in scientists and educators. Though natural history had previously formed part of slavery’s defense, natural history became associated with abolitionists and became distasteful to the southern planters, who had previously appealed to the mantle of scientific authority. This dissertation examines the incentives that people have to value religious and scientific authority, the way that citizens acquire knowledge, and the role of partisanship in explaining citizens’ trust in scientific communication and education.
Committee: Alan C. Houston (chair), Tracy Strong, Harvey Goldman, Gerry Mackie, Charles Thorpe (Sociology)
American Politics, Political Behavior, Social Networks
Dissertation Title: Essays in American Political Behavior
Description: My dissertation focuses on how people’s social networks affect their political orientations and voting behavior. In the first part of my dissertation I examine how friends, and especially close friends, influence decisions to turnout to vote. I study network effects on voting using observational analysis of voting patterns and through a large-scale field experiment. In the second part of my dissertation I construct a new measurement for ideology that I use to measure the ideology of more than 6 million people. I then use this measure to examine how ideology clusters in friendship networks.
Committee: James Fowler (Chair), Gary Jacobson, Thad Kousser, Charles Elkan (UCSD Computer Science), David Huber (UCSD Psychology)
Political Economy, Elections, Democratization, Causal Inference, Comparative Institutions, Latin America, Economic Development.
Dissertation Title: Electoral Corruption in Developing Democracies
Description: My dissertation addresses the challenge of determining the legitimacy of elections when neither ``winners'' nor ``losers'' may have incentives to reveal the truth: perpetrators of fraud usually want to keep their activities as hidden as possible and losers often tend to claim that they have been victims of electoral fraud even when no manipulation existed. In consequence, the measurement of electoral manipulation cannot heavily rely on the evidence and declarations put forward by political actors, and assessing fraud means identifying activities that are designed to be unobservable. In response to this research problem, I propose a novel empirical strategy to detect a specific mechanism in which fraud is performed in contemporary Mexican local elections. Moreover, I propose a formal model to solve the dichotomy between those who argue the hidden and outcome-defining nature of fraud and those who consider electoral manipulation as an observable event that goes beyond winning an election.
Committee: Sebastián Saiegh (co-chair), Stephan Haggard (co-chair), Scott Desposato, Peter Smith, R. Michael Alvarez., and Alberto Díaz-Cayeros.
Comparative Politics, Latin American Politics, Political Behavior, Political Parties, Legislative Behavior, Experiments
Dissertation Title: Vote Choice in Challenging Electoral Environments
Description: In my dissertation, I propose and test a model of voting behavior under different types of ballots, focusing on the cognitive challenges posed when voters must choose between increasing numbers of candidates. Although there is a widely held belief that providing voters with more choice in elections can improve representation, I argue that large choice sets pose cognitive challenges that can make correct voting more difficult and can even deter participation entirely. I test my argument using a series of survey experiments and analysis of observational data from legislative elections in Latin America. I find that as the number of candidates in elections increases, some voters are led to make poor choices, others are led to rely on potentially unreliable cues of candidate quality and many others avoid voting altogether. I argue that elections and electoral institutions entail a critical trade-off between the improved representation provided by more choice and the cognitive limitations of voters.
Committee: Scott Desposato (Chair), Matthew Shugart, James Fowler, Gary Jacobson, Ayelet Gneezy (Rady School of Business)
Human Rights, Repression, Political Behavior, International Relations, Measurement, Computational Modeling
My dissertation research lies at the intersection of the politics of violence and the methods of computational social science. I am also involved in several research projects that span the field of political science, including projects related international conflict, foreign policy analysis, and individual political behaviors using ``big data''.
Dissertation Title: The Measurement and Assessment of Political Constructs Using Computational Modeling Techniques, with Applications to Repression Data
Description: The assessment of political violence and repression presents researchers and activists with a challenging measurement problem. The interaction between state actors and observers, both academic and activist, affects the production of information on violence and repression used in applied research. This is so because of (1) the incentive to hide the use of these policy tools by government authorities and (2) the countervailing strategies used by observers and activists interested in revealing, understanding and ultimately changing repressive practices for the better. In my dissertation, I develop a theory of how the information used to assess levels of repression has changed over time. I then use a variety of computational modeling tools and research design strategies to assess the theory.
Committee: James H. Fowler (co-chair) David A. Lake (co-chair), Miles Kahler, Jesse Driscoll (School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, UCSD), and Brice X. Semmens (Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD)
Comparative Politics, Political Parties, Immigration, Political Behaviour, Latin America, Western Europe
Dissertation Title: Outsider Politics: Radicalism as a Political Strategy in Western Europe and Latin America
Description: My research is centered on the role of political parties, their strategies and the nature of voter preferences in contemporary democratic politics. In my dissertation, I examined the competitive dynamics of outsider political parties across 30 democracies in Western Europe and Latin America. Political parties face different incentives and opportunities depending on the initial conditions of competition within their party systems. In contrast to conventional wisdom, I argue that radical parties do not conform to the classic left-right, unidimensional continuum but rather that they are constantly seeking to redefine the political spectrum. Radicalism is, thus, a strategy of entry and of persuasion for those outsider parties who are currently shunned from the system and who are seeking to break into it. By moving beyond the lenses of ideology, this approach allows us to address our current realities, namely the multidimensionality of voter preferences and the politicisation of social cleavages in a globalised world.
Committee: William Chandler (Chair), Matthew S. Shugart (Co-Chair), Kaare Strom, Sebastián Saiegh, Akos Rona-Tas (Sociology)
International political economy, comparative political economy, African politics, foreign aid, development
Dissertation Title: The Effect of Electoral Politics on Foreign Aid Spending
Description: Governments often appear to profit politically from foreign aid, yet the political logic underlying the distribution and effectiveness of that aid remains poorly understood. I argue that re-election incentives strongly shape who benefits from aid spending and the success of donor investments. I propose a distributional politics model in which recipient governments use their informational advantages over donors to drive disproportionate shares of aid funds to strategic voters and firms. Unlike existing cross-national scholarship, I assess this model using an original sub-national dataset on the location and success of aid projects in Kenya. I establish that incumbents have consistently favored co-ethnics and co-partisans in the distribution of aid and that electoral biases influence aid effectiveness. Also, using a survey experiment and cross-national electoral data, I confirm that aid spending has implications for voter preferences. The results establish that donors help incumbent regimes to maintain power, and confirm that electoral politics play a key role in explaining the gap between donor intentions and outcomes.
Committee: Stephan Haggard, J. Lawrence Broz, Clark Gibson, Megumi Naoi, Craig McIntosh
International Security, Comparative Politics, Agent-Based Modeling, Experiments
Dissertation Title: Organizational Ecology and Population Dynamics in Politics: An Agent-Based Model
Description: I use an agent-based model (ABM) to examine how organizations affect cooperation and welfare across several issues. Humans form organizations to enhance cooperation and wellbeing. Markets, networks, and hierarchies are the recurrent forms of social organization, but are typically studied in isolation. I look at when different types of actors choose to join (and thereby create) different organizations. The conditions that drive these choices include individual, population, and organizational attributes. Social actors use organizations to guard against exploitation, increase the likelihood of cooperation, and by extension increase social welfare. Incorporating organizations into game theoretic models of the evolution of cooperation overturns many received wisdoms, including the evolutionary superiority of tit-for-tat, which holds only under some limited conditions, the efficacy of political networks as information-sharing mechanisms, which decays quickly with iteration, and the power of reciprocity to facilitate cooperation, which can privilege bullies as well as nice actors. I apply insights from the ABM to three topics: rebel organizations, alliance formation, and voter turnout in emerging democracies.
Committee: David Lake, Miles Kahler, Branislav Slantchev, Clark Gibson, Eli Berman (UCSD Economics)
Comparative Politics and American Politics; Interest Groups, Social Movements, and Non-Governmental Organizations; Political Institutions and Policy-Making Processes; Information and Transparency; Environmental Policy, Forestry Policy, and Food Policy.
Dissertation Title: Lobbying in the Dark? The Effects of Policy-Making Transparency on Interest Group Lobbying Strategies in France and Sweden
Description: Studies of interest groups often focus on the technical and political information that groups provide to policymakers. But these studies neglect another critical type of information that groups need to lobby effectively: information about the policy process itself. I argue that the transparency of policy-making processes is an important variable for understanding interest group strategies. By comparing interest group behavior under conditions of high transparency (in Sweden) and low transparency (in France), I demonstrate that groups must alter their lobbying strategies to anticipate and mitigate costly surprises under the latter, but not the former. While my research indicates that groups must routinely exert more effort and resources under low transparency, I also find that groups accustomed to high-transparency are more likely to suffer failures when transparency conditions change suddenly. In short, a full understanding of interest groups’ behavior, and thus ultimately their influence, requires more in-depth attention to the structure of information-release during policy making.
Committee: Kaare Strøm (Chair), Karen Ferree, Thad Kousser, William M. Chandler, Akos Rona-Tas (Sociology), Stephan M. Haggard (IR/PS)
Global Justice, Representation, Nongovernmental Actors, Agency, Recognition, Democratic Theory
Dissertation Title: Relational Representation: Nongovernmental Actors in Global Politics
Description: The core argument of the dissertation was that it is necessary to rethink the concept of representation as a relational, agency-based activity in order to connect the demands for representation in global politics to the representative claims already evident in the practices of many nongovernmental actors. The dissertation looks at the traditional theory of representation, recognizing that it is often a function of governments, subordinate to the demands of sovereignty. It then attempts to open representation as a relational activity, thereby recasting it as a participatory democratic practice that is capable of making sense of the practices of many contemporary nongovernmental actors and organizations.
Committee: Chair: Tracy B. Strong. Committee: Fonna Forman, Harvey Goldman, Marcel Henaff, Leon Zamosc
International Political Economy, Comparative Political Economy, Political and Economic Networks
Dissertation Title: The New Political Economy of Trade: Heterogeneous Firms and Trade Policy
Description: My dissertation investigates the ways in which intra-industry heterogeneity in firms’ characteristics impacts their positions over trade policy. Contrary to existing predictions of factor- or industry-based analyses and the endogenous protection literature, I argue that high productivity firms across all industries favor trade liberalization, while low productivity producers favor increased protection. Following recent work in the economics of international trade that analyzes the ways in which productivity heterogeneity influences firms’ market behaviors, I extend a two-industry, comparative-advantage framework based on the Melitz Model to incorporate a political market. While firms may reveal their trade-policy positions (or preferences) within this political market, they also hold latent positions that are driven by productivity. Thus, across all industries, high productivity firms are more likely to favor trade liberalization, while low productivity firms will seek protection. I find support for my theory in original firm-level survey data from Japan as well as merged lobbying and financial data from publicly held American firms.
Committee: J. Lawrence Broz (Chair), Megumi Naoi (Co-Chair), Peter Cowhey (IRPS), Stephan Haggard (IRPS), Marc Muendler (UCSD Economics)
After receiving his Ph. D. in Political Science from the University of California San Diego, David Selby held the position of postdoctoral fellow at the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales (CÉRIUM) and the Centre d'excellence sur l'Union européenne (CEUE) at the University of Montreal, and is now a visiting scholar in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. He has upcoming articles in the Journal of Church and State (available online via advanced access: http://jcs.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/07/12/jcs.css057.short) and the Tocqueville Review.
While at Berkeley David is looking for a publisher for his book manuscript, titled Building a Republic for the Moderns: Tocqueville, Jansenism, and the Necessity of the Political in a Democratic Age, and working on a second project on the intellectual origins of modern radicalism.
Dissertation Title: Another Republicanism: Tocqueville, Jansenism, and the Necessity of the Political in a Democratic Age
Description: My book manuscript is titled Building a Republic for the Moderns: Alexis de Tocqueville, Jansenism, and the Necessity of the Political in a Democratic Age. In this manuscript I use original archival research to argue that Tocqueville was refashioning a particularly French strain of early modern republicanism to suit the needs of a democratic age. To build a republic for the moderns, Tocqueville blends this particular French republican theory with American republican practices into a new alloy, an innovative attempt to transpose an early modern political heritage into a new democratic register.
Beyond just a new take on a great political thinker, in Building a Republic for the Moderns I argue that Tocqueville’s writings demonstrate how republicanism envisioned in democratic terms can still be a vital resource for thinking about political life. Indeed, there are a number is interesting and unexpected payoffs from this democratic republicanism, from refocusing our attention on the political factors at work in his sociology of religion, to bringing to light the republican foundation of political practice underneath the American virtue of self-interest properly understood.
Committee: Alan Houston (Co-chair, Professor of History, UCSD), Harvey Goldman (Co-chair, Professor of Sociology, UCSD), Fonna Barzilai (Professor of Political Science, UCSD), Marcel Henaff (Professor of Literature, UCSD), Cynthia Truant (Professor of History, UCSD)
American Politics, Parties and Interest Groups, Party Organizations, Political Networks, Methodology
Dissertation Title: The Agenda Setting Powers of Party Organizations
Description: In this dissertation, I explore the role that resurgent party organizations play in conditioning the behavior of congressional candidates and congressmen in the United States. Though party organizations have little institutional power to control candidates, they have cultivated a niche in the world of congressional elections by providing candidates with a variety of support services, including access to party donor networks. Donor networks, I argue, offer the party organizations an indirect mechanism by which to condition the behavior of candidates and congressmen. Whereas candidates and party organizations are primarily motivated by a desire to win elections, donors are typically motivated by policy demands. Party-assembled donor networks, therefore, are likely to be populated with donors whose policy demands mirror those of the national party. Thus, to the extent that candidates deviate from expected policy positions, they should be less effective at exploiting the fundraising potential of party donor networks. Furthermore, when party organizations are strong and donor networks are large, candidates should have a greater incentive to cohere with their party than when organizations and donor networks are weak. I test this theory using FEC data. First, I assemble donation networks for each federal election from 1980-2010, and chart the development of party organization-based donor networks at the national and state levels. Second, I examine the effect that reliance on party donor networks has on the roll-call and cosponsorship behaviors of congressmen. Finally, I examine the impacts of institutional variance on the effectiveness of party organizations in developing donor networks and conditioning the behavior of congressmen.
Committee: James H. Fowler (chair), Keith T. Poole (University of Georgia), Samuel Kernell, Matthew S. Shugart, Richard T. Carson (UCSD Economics)
Web site: http://www.andrewwaugh.com/