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.  Please click here to submit your information.

(Please also note that information on this page will be removed once a year, every June 01.  You can resubmit or alter your information at any time via the link above.)

Vivekinan (Vivek) Ashok, PhD expected May 2017 (American Politics, Political Economy, Methodology) Website

Dissertation: Three Essays on the Behavioral Political Economy of Government Spending (Advisors List: Alan S. Gerber, Gregory A. Huber, Ebonya L. Washington)

I study how citizens form preferences about economic policies. My dissertation investigates the puzzle of redistribution in the United States. With a sharp rise in economic inequality in the last 40 years, why has there been no parallel rise in support for redistribution? Research addressing this puzzle has been quick to note that these competing trends invalidate a seminal model in political economy advanced by Meltzer and Richard (1981). While voters appear to be acting against their self-interest, my research shows this isn’t the case. I find that citizens want redistribution, but they have trouble believing that government spending is going to result in more money in their pockets.

My research has been published in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity and the Election Law Journal.

Blake Emerson, Ph.D. expected May 2016 (Political Theory, American Politics) Website

Dissertation:  Between Public Law and Public Sphere: An American Progressive Theory of the Administrative State

My research focuses on the relationship between German and American political thought. My dissertation develops a normative theory of the administrative state from American progressives who were influenced by German state theory.  I received the Edgar M. Cullen Prize for the Best Paper by a First Year Law Student at Yale Law School in 2011.  I also received an Honorable Mention for the Best Paper in Law and Courts Award from the American Political Science Association in 2013.  My research has been published in Philosophy & Social Criticism (2013) and in The Review of Politics (forthcoming 2015).

Anna Jurkevics, PhD awarded May 2017 (Political Theory) Website

Dissertation: Cosmopolitan Territories: Land, Jurisdiction, and International Law (Advisors List: Seyla Benhabib, Karuna Mantena, Paulina Ochoa-Espejo (Haverford College), Andrew March)

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Yale University, degree expected May 2017. I specialize in modern European political thought, critical theory, and democratic theory. Drawing on 20th century German political thought, my research challenges contemporary understandings of sovereign territoriality. My dissertation, “Cosmopolitan Territories: Land, Jurisdiction, and International Law,” seeks to revive a non-exclusive model of territoriality for cosmopolitan theory.

Jiyoung Ko, PhD Expected 2017 (International Relations, Quantitative Methods, Comparative Politics) Website

Dissertation:  A Prelude to Violence? The Effect of Nationalism on Interstate Violence (Advisor(s):  Jason Lyall(Chair), Alexandre Debs, Allan Dafoe)

My research centers on domestic sources of conflict and peace, with a particular focus on nationalism, as well as on nuclear proliferation and alliance politics. My dissertation advances a new theoretical framework to elucidate the effect of popular nationalism on the initiation of international conflict. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that popular nationalism increases the likelihood of interstate violence, I claim that, under certain conditions,  popular nationalism can have a stabilizing effect. I have a regional specialization in East Asia. My research has been supported by the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Council on East Asian Studies, and two other programs at Yale.

Malte Lierl, PhD awarded 2015 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Development Personal) Website

Dissertation:  Informal Governance: Enforcement and Accountability Under Weak Institutions Institutions (Advisors List: Thad Dunning (UC Berkeley), Gregory Huber (Yale), Delia Baldassarri (NYU))

My research focuses on governance and public accountability in developing democracies. In my dissertation, I investigated why citizens comply with hard-to-enforce village taxes, even though their contributions are frequently embezzled. Through extensive fieldwork and behavioral experiments with local leaders and citizens at 48 study sites in rural Tanzania, my research demonstrates how informal social norms can interact with formal institutions to limit corruption and to motivate citizens to cooperate with local governments. In addition to pursuing several self-standing articles and a book project, I actively seek to translate my research into policy innovation. Since 2013, I have been leading a multi-year program of policy experimentation in Burkina Faso that explores how social incentives can be leveraged to improve the functioning of municipal governments. Carried out in collaboration with the government of Burkina Faso and the World Bank, this program includes a series of field experiments that cover more than a third of Burkina Faso’s municipalities, as well as several complementary studies on elections and accountability of local politicians.
My research has been funded by competitive grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the World Bank, the EGAP Metaketa Initiative, and Yale University.

Rebecca Nielsen, Ph.D. 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.

Pia Raffler, Ph.D. expected 2017 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Development) Website

Dissertation: Information, Accountability, and Political Elite Behavior (Advisors: Thad Dunning (Chair, UC Berkeley), Kate Baldwin, Chris Blattman (University of Chicago), Ana De La O, Steven Wilkinson)

I am currently a Fellow at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University.

I study the politics of development, focusing on governance, bureaucracy, and electoral politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular in East Africa. I use large field experiments implemented in collaboration with government agencies, political parties, and civil society in combination with behavioral and qualitative methods to address one overarching question: How can political accountability be strengthened in settings where many of the core assumptions of existing theories – informed voters, institutional checks and balances, and a professional bureaucracy – are not met? My dissertation research focuses on accountability relationships within local governments, between politicians and bureaucrats, in Uganda. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and a field experiment implemented in 260 local governments, I show that political oversight over the local bureaucracy has the potential to improve service delivery even in the hard case of an electoral autocracy, as long as a modicum of party competition exists.

My research has won two awards from the American Political Science Association – the Best Fieldwork Award by the Comparative Democratization section and a Honorable Mention for Best Graduate Student Paper in African Affairs – as well as competitive grants from EGAP, Hewlett Foundation, and the International Growth Center.

Steven Rosenzweig, Ph.D. expected May, 2017 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy of Development, Quantitative Methods) Website

Dissertation: The Logic of Violence in Electoral Competition (Advisors: Thad Dunning (chair), Kate Baldwin, Susan Stokes, Steven Wilkinson)

I study the political economy of developing countries with a focus on political violence, electoral accountability, and African politics. My research agenda is motivated by a central question: what are the political arrangements that promote security and prosperity in developing societies, and what causes such arrangements to arise or break down? In particular, I have explored the complex role of electoral competition in solving—or exacerbating—problems of violent conflict and government accountability in the developing world. I have published my research in the Quarterly Journal of Political Science and Electoral Studies, and other work is currently under review.

In my dissertation, The Logic of Violence in Electoral Competition, I offer answers to the following questions: Why do candidates in some developing democracies employ violence as an electoral tactic? Do voters reward, accept, or reject violence with their votes, and does the reaction vary across different kinds of voters? If violence sometimes reduces support for the perpetrating candidate, why does he or she still use it? My focus is on Kenya, a country with a history of election-related conflict. I find that voter backlash against violence is much stronger and more broad-based than most politicians believe, and this backlash may be large enough to offset whatever electoral advantages violence may provide. I reach these conclusions by means of new data that I generated, featuring a series of parallel survey experiments conducted with voters and politicians, in-depth interviews with political elites, and analysis of observational data on the incidence of violence and election outcomes.

Luis Schiumerini, PhD awarded 2015 (Comparative Politics, Quantitative Methods, and Political Economy), Website

Dissertation: Incumbency and Democracy in South America (Advisors List: Thad Dunning (co-chair), Susan Stokes (co-chair), David Mayhew, Tariq Thachil)

I am currently a Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

My research examines political behavior and representation in new democracies. My research is forthcoming at Perspectives on Politics, and has been invited to revise and resubmit to the Journal of Conflict Resolution and to the British Journal of Political Science. In all of this work I employ cutting-edge tools of causal inference – such as natural and survey experiments – to investigate the conditions under which citizens can effectively engage in electoral accountability, participate in mass protests, and form preferences for redistribution. My book manuscript explores incumbency effects in Latin America. Drawing on twelve months of fieldwork Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, as well as on my own survey and natural experiments, I show that political institutions – budget control, party systems, and electoral rules – are key factors in whether incumbency helps or hurts office-holders.