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.
Robert A. Blair, PhD expected May 2014 (Comparative Politics, International Relations, Political Economy, Quantitative Methods) Website
Dissertation: Peacebuilding and the Consolidation of State Authority after Civil War. (Advisor(s): Nicholas Sambanis, Christopher Blattman and Steven Wilkinson)
My research explores the effects of peacebuilding on state consolidation after civil war, with a regional focus on Liberia. Using a combination of surveys, list experiments and behavioral games, I show that exposure to peacebuilding enhances state legitimacy in the eyes of civilians, and increases compliance with the rule of law at the expense of informal institutions. My research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Folke Bernadotte Academy, and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, among others. A co-authored paper evaluating an alternative dispute resolution program in Liberia is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review.
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.
Erica De Bruin, PhD expected May 2014 (International Relations, Comparative Politics, Security Studies) Website
Dissertation: War and Coup Prevention in Developing States (Advisor(s): Steven Wilkinson (chair), Thad Dunning, Bruce Russett, and Nicholas Sambanis)
My research focuses on civil-military relations and international conflict. In my dissertation, I demonstrate that much of the puzzling decline in military intervention in politics over the past several decades can be explained by the spread of paramilitary “counterweights” to the military. I also show that international and domestic security concerns interact to determine when and where leaders will employ them. I use a new dataset on state security forces, combined with game theoretic analysis and careful process-tracing. My research has been supported by an APSA Centennial Center fellowship.
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.
Navid Hassanpour, PhD expected December 2013 (Comparative Politics, Political Methodology, Political Communication) Website
Dissertation: Communication and Conflict (Advisor(s): Nicholas Sambanis, James Scott, Elisabeth Wood, Dirk Bergemann)
In my dissertation I combine spatial analysis of conflict dynamics, social network modeling, and field surveys in Cairo to explore the consequences of summary media disruption on the dispersion of urban conflict in Egypt and Syria. Currently I am working on mapping Twitter conversation networks (Iran election tweet dataset), the logic of perception in international interventions, and network experiments for linking social structure and collective participation. My work has appeared, among others, in Political Communication, PS: Political Science & Politics, and IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. My book project, Politics of Information, is under review at Cambridge University Press.
Malte Lierl, (Comparative Politics, Political Economy) Website
Dissertation: Informal Governance: Enforcement and Accountability under Weak Institutions (Advisors: Thad Dunning (chair), Gregory Huber, Delia Baldassarri)
My research explores the logic of governance under weak institutions, focusing on local-level governance in Africa. 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 currently pursuing experiments on the behavioral effects of elections under weak institutions, as well as several policy experiments on municipal government accountability in Burkina Faso, for which I am collaborating with the government of Burkina Faso and the World Bank.
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 wealth 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 Cambridge 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.
Celia Paris, PhD expected May 2014 (American Politics, Quantitative Methods, Political Theory) Website
Dissertation: Can’t They All Just Get Along? Representative Democracy and Managing Political Disagreement in America (Advisor(s): Gregory Huber (chair), John Bullock, Bryan Garsten, Alan Gerber)
I study public opinion and representation. My dissertation presents new evidence on citizens’ reactions to three distinct features of partisan conflict: incivility, bill failure, and partisan patterns of voting and co-sponsorship. I show that when a representative engages in bipartisan behavior, only voters from the opposite party react positively, while independents and same-party voters are unaffected. Bipartisanship fails to benefit representatives among key constituencies, resulting in a lack of incentives for bipartisan cooperation. My work has been published in the Journal of Politics and Public Opinion Quarterly, and is supported by a National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant.
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)
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)
My dissertation investigates the causes and consequences of incumbency effects in Latin America. 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. 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.
Rory Truex, PhD expected May 2014 (Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Quantitative Methods) Website
Dissertation: Representation Within Bounds: Politics and Policy in China’s National People’s Congress (Advisor(s): Thad Dunning (chair), Ken Scheve, Susan Rose-Ackerman, Lily Tsai)
My dissertation asks whether representation can arise in the authoritarian context, focusing on China’s National People’s Congress. The project draws on original data on NPC deputies gathered during my year’s worth of fieldwork in Beijing. My research has received the Westview Press Award for best graduate student paper at the MPSA 2012 Conference, as well as the Best Paper Award at NYU’s Graduate Student Conference in Political Economy. I have recently been invited to revise and resubmit my paper on the “returns to office” for NPC deputies to the American Political Science Review. I currently hold an NSF Graduate Fellowship.