Hire a Yale PhD

Below is an alphabetical list of Yale Ph.D. students and recent graduates currently on the job market. Please feel free to contact them, their advisors, or the DGS for additional information.

Edwin Camp, PhD May 2012 (Comparative Politics, Empirical Methods, Formal Theory) Website

Dissertation: Tending to the Barrio: Broker Motivation and the Electoral Success of Political Machines (Advisor(s): Susan Stokes, John Roemer, and Thad Dunning)

Currently, I serve as a Postdoctoral Associate for the Program on Democracy at Yale University. I am the recipient of the Annie G.K. Garland Memorial Fellowship (2010), the MacMillan Center Dissertation Research Grant (2009), the George Walter Leitner Felllowship (2009), and the Agrarian Studies Fellowship (2006). My research develops unique insights into how political machines dominate electorates and how the same dynamics that led to their dominance can ultimately cause their decline. My dissertation used formal theory and multiple research methods to better understand the internal organization of political parties and the electoral efficiency of political machines.

Madhavi Devasher, PhD expected May 2014 (Comparative Politics, International Relations, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods, South Asian Politics) Website

Dissertation: Masjid versus Mandal: Ethnic Voting in India (Advisor(s): Steven Wilkinson (Chair), Tariq Thachil)

I study ethnic politics, political parties and voter behavior. In my dissertation, I develop a theory to explain why Muslim voters vote ethnically in some electoral districts and cross-ethnically in others by examining political party strategy, and district-level variations in demographics and competitiveness that inspire different political calculations among both voters and parties. I carried out a unique survey of 1600 Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh, India to gather data on vote choices, issue preferences and demographics. I also interviewed politicians from all major parties and voters. My research was supported by the Macmillan Center International Research Dissertation Research Grant.

Adam Dynes, PhD expected May 2014 (American politics, comparative politics, and quantitative methods) Website

Dissertation: How do politicians balance their policy preferences and reelection concerns? Three essays on legislative behavior (Advisor(s): Gregory Huber (chair), Daniel Butler, Alan Gerber, and David Mayhew)

I am a Graduate Student Fellow and former Policy Fellow at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale. My dissertation examines tactics that elected officials employ when their policy interests conflict with reelection goals. One tactic is to strategically allocate public spending to alter the electoral terrain. Another is to use legislative procedure to obscure traceability and diminish electoral accountability. I use survey experiments on local U.S. policymakers to test which strategies they employ and why. My other work also addresses distributive politics and the incongruence between the policy preferences of public officials and their constituents.

Brian J. Fried, PhD May 2013 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Methodology) Website

Dissertation: The End of the Closed Corral: Explaining the Decline of Clientelism in Brazil (Advisor(s): Susan C. Stokes)

My dissertation investigates the surprising decline of clientelism in Brazil. I provide evidence that this shift is occurring and discuss why it transpired. I combine qualitative evidence gathered during 2 years of fieldwork with quantitative analysis of existing and original survey data to show that a previously overlooked factor—the professionalization of the civil service—is fundamental to explaining the increased reliance on technocratic policies in Brazil. I have published articles in World Development, the Latin American Research Review, and the American Journal of Public Health. My research has been supported by Fulbright Hayes and National Science Foundation research fellowships.

Adom Getachew, PhD Candidate, Expected May 2015 (Political Theory (joint with African-American Studies)

Dissertation: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination: Towards a History of Anti-Colonial World-Making

This dissertation excavates and reconstructs an account of self-determination offered in the political thought of African-American, African and Caribbean anti-colonial critics during the height of decolonization in the twentieth century. I argue that intellectuals and statesmen such as W.E.B Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah and Eric Williams reinvented the concept of self-determination as a project of world-making in which they reconceived international political and economic relations. By reexamining anti-colonial efforts to introduce a right to self-determination at the United Nations, to constitute regional federations in Africa and the Caribbean, and to create a New International Economic Order, I highlight the internationalism of anti-colonial nationalism. I argue that this combination of internationalism and nationalism, of world-making and nation-building calls into question the conventional view of nationalism as exclusionary, insular and thus necessarily incompatible with internationalist politics. Although anti-colonial projects of world-making were largely unrealized and collapsed by the late 1970s, my revisionist account of nationalism offers contemporary theorists and scholars concerned with problems of global governance an alternative vision of world order in which a defense of national autonomy and equality is not only compatible with supranational institutions, but remains necessary to constructing a just and stable world order.

Francesca Grandi, PhD expected May 2015 (International Relations, Comparative Politics, Qualitative Methods)

Dissertation: Troubled Peace: Political Violence During Postwar Transitions (Advisors: Stathis Kalyvas (Chair), Elisabeth Wood, Steven Wilkinson, Jason Lyall)

I study conflict and political violence, focusing on civil wars, war termination, post-conflict peacebuilding, and transitional justice. My dissertation examines the occurrence and variation of extra-judicial killings generalizing from an historical setting, post-WWII Italy, to present-day situations, such as post-Qadhafi Libya. Data collection for this project, including fourteen months of archival research in Italy, received support from The Harry Guggenheim Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Yale MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale. My other research activities include projects on counterinsurgency in history and revenge killings in post-WII Europe.

Alexandra C. Hartman, PhD Expected 2015 (Comparative Politics, International Political Economy, African Politics) Website

Dissertation:  This Land is My Land: The Sacred Stakes of Land Disputes in Liberia (Advisors: Elisabeth Wood, Christopher Blattman, Frances Rosenbluth)

My research uses original survey data and ethnographic research to understand how local justice institutions interact with national and international policies to create order in weak and post-conflict states. I argue that subnational variations in property rights as well as the social processes that make land sacred explain why some disputes over property rights remain easy to resolve while others grow violent. My other research interests include the interaction between formal legal systems and community based law, the micro dynamics of conflict, and experimental and qualitative research methods.

My research has been supported by Yale University, the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, USAID and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

Malte Lierl, Ph.D. expected in May 2015 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Methods) Website

Dissertation: Informal Governance: Enforcement and Accountability under Weak Institutions (Advisors: Thad Dunning (chair), Gregory Huber, Delia Baldassarri)

My research focuses on the political economy of governance under weak institutions, especially in the context of local-level governance in developing countries. In my dissertation, I examine how social sanctioning capacity and reputational mechanisms in Tanzanian villages influence the co-production of public goods by citizens and local leaders. This project is based on behavioral experiments (involving local leaders and ordinary citizens), surveys, and open-ended interviews and administrative data. Additionally, I am pursuing several large-scale policy experiments on municipal government accountability in collaboration with the government of Burkina Faso and the World Bank, as well as other ongoing research. My work has been funded by competitive grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the World Bank, and other institutions. 

Matthew Longo, PhD expected May 2014 (Contemporary Theory, Political Philosophy, Comparative Politics, Middle East Politics) Website

Dissertation: Sovereignty in the Age of Securitization: A Study on Borders and Bordering in the United States after 9/11 (Advisor(s): Seyla Benhabib (chair), James C. Scott, Paulina Ochoa)

My dissertation focuses on borders, sovereignty and citizenship, after 9/11. Drawing from qualitative research on contemporary US bordering policy and practice, I reveal borders to be increasingly thick, multi-faceted and bi-national – rather than thin, legal-topographical instantiations of state sovereignty. This re-conceptualization has great normative and geo-political significance: when states co-manage their borders in a shared battle against global flows, sovereignty at the border becomes paradoxically both joint and empty. I am the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, as well as grants from the Institute for Social and Policy Studies and the MacMillan Center at Yale.

Lucy Martin, PhD expected May 2015 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Formal Modeling, Experimental Methods) Website

Dissertation: Taxation & Accountability in Sub-Saharan Africa (Advisors: Kenneth Scheve (chair), Christopher Blattman, Susan Rose-Ackerman, Susan Stokes)

My dissertation examines the effects of taxation on citizens’ demands for accountability in sub-Saharan Africa. I develop a formal theory to explain why taxation decreases citizens’ toleration for corruption, making them more likely to take costly actions to hold government officials accountable. I use behavioral games, survey experiments, and case studies from Uganda to show support for the theory and the proposed mechanism of loss aversion. In other ongoing projects I examine when citizens’ demands due to taxation lead to equilibrium improvements in accountability and how voters assign blame for governance failures at the local level.

Luke Mayville, PhD expected May 2014 (Political Theory, American Politics) Website

Dissertation: The Oligarchic Mind: Wealth and Power in the Political Thought of John Adams (Advisors: Steven B. Smith (chair), Bryan Garsten, Karuna Mantena)

My research draws on the writings of John Adams to uncover a unique theory of the political power of wealth. Today’s students of wealth and politics have understood the power of wealth largely in terms of purchasing power—the power to buy political influence by bankrolling campaigns, purchasing media space, and funding lobbying efforts. John Adams, by contrast, traced the political influence of wealth not just to its purchasing power but to its grip on the human mind. Though he was no stranger to the purchase of political influence, Adams repeatedly urged his readers to appreciate sentiments like sympathy and admiration for the rich as less tangible but no less potent sources of oligarchic power. An article on John Adams’s conception of aristocratic power is forthcoming in Polity. My book project, Sympathy for the Rich, is currently under review at Princeton University Press.

Rebecca Nielsen, PhD expected May 2015 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Quantitative Methods) Website

Dissertation: War, Networks and Women in Politics: Female Secret Societies in Sierra Leone and Liberia (Advisors: Elisabeth Wood (co-chair), Thad Dunning (co-chair), Dara Cohen)

I study political development, violent conflict, religion and magic. My dissertation examines the differential impact of civil war on widespread ‘secret society’ organizations in West Africa and traces subsequent levels of women’s local and national political integration. Data collection for this project, including twelve months of fieldwork in Sierra Leone and Liberia, received support from the National Science Foundation and the Yale MacMillan Center. My other research activities include a project on the perverse consequences of NGO and INGO development interventions, and a study of why some armed groups choose to adopt supernatural weapons.

Leonid Peisakhin, PhD May 2012 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, International Relations, European Politics) Website

Dissertation: Long Shadow of the Past: Identity, Norms, and Political Behavior (Advisor(s): Stathis Kalyvas, Susan Stokes, Keith Darden)

I am a post-doctoral researcher at the Juan March Institute. I am currently working on a book manuscript that explores processes by which political and economic identities are created, persist, and change. Drawing on a natural experiment that divided a homogenous population of ethnic Ukrainians between Russian and Austrian empires I demonstrate that political identities have a remarkable staying power and can negate the effects of formal institutions. All of my work is multi-method, and though I am particularly interested in post-Soviet and European politics my research is first and foremost question driven.

Erin R. Pineda, PhD expected May 2015 (Political Theory, Qualitative & Archival Methods, Comparative Politics) Website

Dissertation: “The awful roar”: Civil disobedience, civil rights, and the politics of creative disorder (Advisor(s): Seyla Benhabib, Karuna Mantena, James Scott)

My dissertation studies civil disobedience from a perspective of political action, attempting to restore democratic dignity to forms of strategic action marginalized by contemporary political theory. Building on archival and historical research of the American Civil Rights Movement, I counter a widespread understanding of civil disobedience as protest that, despite breaking the law, signals an acceptance of the state’s legitimacy. Far from affirming the American state as essentially just, I show how activists used mass jailing, civil disruption, and methods of crisis-generation to disclose systemic injustice, dispute settled norms, and destabilize the bases of state legitimacy – engaging in what I call processes of “creative disorder.” My research has been supported by a grant from the Beinecke Rare Books & Manuscripts Library. Two articles based on my dissertation work are currently under review for publication.

Luis Schiumerini,  PhD expected May 2015 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Quantitative Methods) Website

Dissertation: Biased or Retrospective voters? A Theory of Incumbency Effects with evidence from South America (Advisors: Thad Dunning (co-chair), Susan Stokes (co-chair), David Mayhew)

I study political behavior and democratic representation in developing countries, with a regional focus on Latin America. My dissertation investigates the causes and consequences of incumbency effects drawing insights and data from twelve months of fieldwork in Brazil, Argentina and Chile. I argue that incumbency effects represent a constrained form of retrospective voting in environments where parties do not provide reliable policy information or valence. I combine a survey experiment, regression discontinuity designs and case studies to establish systematic variation in incumbency effects as a function of fiscal resources, economic performance and electoral rules. In other projects, I study the origins of preferences for redistribution and the determinants of participation in mass protests. My research has been supported by the Yale Program on Democracy, the Macmillan Center and the Institute for Social and Policy studies.

Rachel Silbermann, PhD expected May 2014 (American Politics and Quantitative Methods) Website

Dissertation: Essays about Gender and Politics in the Present-Day United States (Advisor(s): Alan Gerber, Gregory Huber, John Bullock)

I am interested in American politics, political behavior, political psychology, and gender and politics. My dissertation uses observational and survey research, survey experiments, GIS software, and qualitative studies to address how understudied work-life balance concerns, such as commute time, affect the decision to run for public office. In survey experiments and in observational studies of state legislators and candidates, I find that women are less interested in running for office if they live far away from the capital, where they would be working. I received the APSA Political Psychology’s Section’s Distinguished Junior Scholars Award in 2012.

Jason K. Stearns, PhD Expected May 2015 (Comparative, International Relations) Website

Dissertation: The Rebels’ Fate: Understanding the Social Foundations of Insurgency (Advisor(s): Elisabeth Wood, Scott Straus, Thad Dunning)

Drawing on two years of fieldwork in the eastern Congo, and a review of other conflicts, I trace the continuation of the Congolese conflict since 2003 to tensions created by the peace process, which alienated members of one of the strongest belligerents, the RCD and their Rwandan allies. I engage with other theories explaining the violence in the Congo, stressing the social locus and the political opportunities behind armed mobilization.

This contributes to debates surrounding armed insurgency in general. In contrast to the dominant focus on material variables––natural resources, topography, state strength––I highlight the importance of the social foundations of insurgency, the links between armed groups and their supporters, allies, audience, and rivals. This analysis argues for an ontological shift in how to approach conflict, with greater emphasis on the social structures underlying mobilization, as well as on the interests of the actors involved.

Awards: University Dissertation Fellowship, Yale University (2014); Arthur Ross Book Award (Silver medalist, 2012), Council on Foreign Relations; Member, Affinity Group on DR Congo, Social Science Research Council (2013-); Lindsey Fellow for Research in Africa, Yale University (2011).

Dawn Teele, PhD 2014 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Women in Politics, Research Methods) Website

My research focuses on comparative political institutions in Western Europe and the Americas. My dissertation features a general theory of franchise extension in limited democratic societies – the site of most democratic inclusions. The theory generates predictions about voting rights reform based on electoral competition, the nature of political cleavages, and the organized activism of disenfranchised groups. I provide evidence for this theory in three empirical analyses of the politics of women’s suffrage reform in England, France, and the United States, each based on  archival research and original data collection. I’ve won funding for this research from the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and the Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy at Yale, and externally from the Carrie Chapman Catt Foundation and the National Science Foundation. My secondary interests lie in social scientific methodology (including quantitative and qualitative methods), the political economy of development, and economic history. I am currently a Research Fellow in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  My edited volume, Field Experiments and Their Critics, is available through Yale University Press.

Lucas Thompson, PhD May 2013 (Political Philosophy, International Relations, Religion and Politics, Contemporary Theory)

Dissertation: Constitutional Duty: Emergency Power and the American Presidency (Advisor(s): Steven Smith (chair), Bruce Ackerman, Bryan Garsten, Stephen Skowronek)

I am a postdoctoral associate at the MacMillan Center and a Lecturer in Political Science. My dissertation explains why, instead of celebrating bold crisis leadership, recent Presidents have shrouded their uses of emergency power in idiosyncratic readings of statutes. This “executive legalism” limits democratic accountability while undermining presidential authority. I uncover the Framers’ design for handling emergency powers–“constitutional duty”–and then argue for its continuing relevance. We no longer share all of the Framers’ assumptions about law and politics, but the Constitution’s persistence means that constitutional duty, used effectively, can both advance constitutional government and empower the President.