2012 Posters

Fall 2012 are made available on this webpage. Links to pdf images of the posters are available by clicking on the project title. Posters are sorted by approximate sub-field.

Jennifer Pan and Chiara Superti Where's Waldo:  Searching for the Hidden Variable of Corruption

Corruption is is an important topic in social science, but the difficulty of measuring corruption presents a significant barrier to research. This measurement problem has led to misleading results and has forced scholars to change their quantity of interest, e.g., to study the “perception of corruption” rather than “corruption.” In this paper, we work to uncover the "true" value of corruption hidden by measurement error. By using substantive knowledge about the data generation process of corruption measures and their biases, we identify “filter variables” to mitigate non-classical measurement error through an instrumental variables approach for linear errors-in-variables model. We demonstrate our method analytically, through simulation, and by using it in an application of the effect of corruption on economic development.

Maxwell Palmer Taking Plenary Time Seriously: Setting the Calendar in a Busy Legislature

This paper develops a formal model of calendar setting in a busy legislature.  In a busy legislature, finite time constrains the number of issues that can be taken up on the floor. As a result there is not time to address every issue during the legislative session.  Under certain conditions, legislators prefer to spend the beginning of a legislative session electing a "Speaker" who sets the calendar of issues that will be addressed.  Using formal modeling and computational agent-based modeling, I analyze the conditions where a Speaker will be elected, the set of legislators who could be elected Speaker, and the value of electing a Speaker compared to a legislature without any leadership power over the calendar. /

Robert Schub Unfair Fights: Power Asymmetries and Preventive War

What circumstances are most conducive to preventive war? Scholars have long recognized that imminent shifts in relative power may motivate declining states to initiate conflict under the initially more favorable terms. But when are the commitment problems that underpin these preventive wars most likely to occur? Building upon existing bargaining models of war, I address a previously unconsidered relationship with novel testable implications. Specifically, by incorporating more flexible costs of war and risk premiums to the model---both of which are a function of the original dyadic balance of power---I show that larger initial power asymmetries increase the probability of preventive conflict. It follows that looming power transitions in which rising states approach and surpass parity, long considered war-prone scenarios, are not particularly problematic. Extensive empirical tests that relax assumptions employed in prior analyses of preventive conflict offer strong support for this contention.

Anthony Fowler and Andrew B. Hall Constituent Interests and Legislative Representation

Republicans and Democrats behave very differently in the legislature. While much of this difference could result from the two parties representing different districts, members of the two parties behave very differently even when representing the same exact district. How much differently do Democrats and Republicans vote when representing the same hypothetical district? Does this partisan representation gap shrink when votes are on bills that the district cares more about?

Mark Hlavac stargazer : LaTeX code for well-formatted regression and summary statistics tables (R package) Elections and Discretionary Spending: The Case of the Ghana Education Trust Fund

The stargazer R package produces LaTeX code for well-formatted tables that hold regression analysis results from several models side-by-side, as well as summary statistics. It supports model objects from lm, glm, svyglm, gee, gam, polr, survreg, coxph, as well as from the implementation of these in zelig. It also supports the following zelig models for social network analysis: "cloglog.net", "gamma.net", and "logit.net". In addition, stargazer can create tables similar to those published in a selection of top social science journals.

Julie Faller Elections and Discretionary Spending: The Case of the Ghana Education Trust Fund

How do governments decide where and when to spend their resources? These classic questions of distributive politics are particularly important in resource-poor areas where government investment may be crucial to economic growth and democratic development. Using an original budgetary dataset from the Ghana Education Trust Fund, I find strong evidence of a political business cycle in which the incumbent government spends more on primary education infrastructure during election years. Furthermore, I find that while the ruling party spends more across all types of districts during election years, resources over non-election years are disproportionately allocated to districts that voted more heavily for the ruling party’s presidential candidate. These results have implications for scholarly work on political business cycles, neopatrimonialism and distributive politics.

Mai Hassan Deconcentration in Kenya Since the Beginning of Multi-Party Elections

The number of Kenyan districts has increased seven-fold and unevenly throughout the country since the beginning of multi-party democracy in 1992.  Districts are seen as the administrative level that is most capable of achieving development and governance goals, yet district creation patterns did not follow levels of existing infrastructure or stated administrative concerns such as security issues or population growth.  Building on Levitsky and Way (2010) I contend that Kenya's administrative changes are best understood as a mechanism through which presidents' attempt to maintain power after the end of single-party rule.  Incumbent presidents have used their control over the administrative apparatus to create government units as a means to dispense patronage to areas of supporters.  Using original micro-level ethnicity data, an original data-set of district pronouncements and case study comparisons, I find evidence that Kenya's past two presidents created districts in the run-up to their re-election campaigns primarily among ethnic groups in their winning coalition.  My project also tests this theory on a panel dataset of sub-Saharan African countries since 1990, and finds strong support for the theory.  

Soledad Artiz and Jonathan Phillips Vote Swings: What we can learn from compositional models

To accurately understand strategic and economic voting, statistical models of voting behaviour must account for the compositional nature of voting data. Statistical models that fail to take account of these properties draw inaccurate conclusions about the pattern and motivations behind voting. The adding-up constraint implicit in voting data, showing that a vote swing towards one party must always be off set by a swing away from another party, must be explicitly incorporated into voting behaviour models to avoid bias. This paper makes an important methodological contribution by adapting existing compositional models- intended for modelling vote shares in a single election- to capture changes in vote share between elections and developing diagrammatic tools that support intuitive analysis of vote swings. 

Colin M. Brown Constituents at the Gate: German and Dutch Parties and their Migrant Outreach Strategies

This paper examines the variation across cities and time in the amount of attention paid to immigrant-background voters by European political parties. This project uses measures of campaign appeals and a number of elite interviews with party officials and volunteers in three cities (Rotterdam, Bremen and Dortmund) to attempt to trace the sources of variation across parties and across locales in the types---and to some degree, the success---of campaign outreach efforts to voters with a migration background, and points to existing voting and institutional structures unrelated to migration to be the most important determinant.

Charlotte Cavaille and Kris-Stella Trump Redistributive Attitudes in Hard Times: Only Parallel Movements in Public Opinion

Political economists have documented a strong cross-sectional relationship between individual / economic welfare and support for redistribution. Does this cross-sectional difference translate to / over-time changes in attitudes when the distribution of economic welfare changes? A quick / extrapolation from the cross-sectional evidence would predict that changes in the British labor / market over the past three decades, by virtue of increasing hardship for some segments of the / population, should increase demand for redistribution. At a minimum, we would expect the attitudes / of individuals who face high levels of material hardship to exhibit different trajectories than the / attitudes of those who enjoy high income and job security. We analyze the redistributive attitudes of / the best- and worst-off British economic quintiles from 1986 to 2008 and find no evidence of / increased demand for redistribution in either quintile. In addition, the attitude trajectories of the two / quintiles show no evidence of divergence. We find that attitudes toward welfare recipients have / become more conservative among all respondents, while attitudes regarding redistribution that are / disconnected from concerns about recipients have barely changed. Our results underscore the perils / of extrapolating over-time trends from findings in cross-sectional models. We conclude by / discussing possible explanations for the observed patterns and suggest relevant next questions in the / study of redistributive attitudes.

Rich Nielsen Adoption of Jihadi Ideology by Islamic Clerics

This paper explains why some Muslim clerics adopt the ideology of militant Jihad while others do not. I argue that clerics strategically adopt or reject Jihadi ideology because of career incentives generated by the structure of cleric educational networks. Well-connected clerics enjoy substantial success at pursuing comfortable careers within state-run religious institutions and they reject Jihadi ideology in exchange for continued material support from the state. Clerics with poor educational networks cannot rely on connections to advance through the state-run institutions, so many pursue careers outside of the system by appealing directly to lay audiences for support. These clerics are more likely to adopt Jihadi ideology because it helps them demonstrate to potential supporters that they have not been theologically coopted by political elites. I provide evidence of these dynamics by collecting and analyzing 29,430 fatwas, articles, and books written by 91 contemporary clerics. Using statistical natural language processing, I measure the extent to which each cleric adopts Jihadi ideology in their writing. I combine this with biographical and network information about each cleric to trace the process by which poorly-connected clerics become more likely to adopt Jihadi ideology.

Molly Roberts and Kara Ross Camarena It's the Journey, not the Destination: Estimating Refugee Flows from Stock Data

For almost a decade in cross-country analyses of refugee flows, scholars have used net changes in stocks of refugees as a proxy for flows.  In a directed-dyad framework, this assumes refugees can only return to their country of origin and do not move between countries.  We argue that this assumption is often unrealistic due to continued conflict or persecution that prevents refugees from repatriating.  We relax this assumption and employ network tomography to estimate flows among sets of countries.  Our analysis significantly changes the conclusions of previous cross-country refugee studies.  In addition, it expands the number of questions scholars can study with refugee stock data, as it allows for the studies of flows of refugees in systems of countries.

Hye Young You Ex Post Lobbying

Many groups are mobilized to lobby after bills are passed. But three prominent theories of lobbying only assume and predict lobbying before the voting. This paper aims to document the systematic patterns of ex post lobbying and provide an explanation.

Adam Chilton ">Using Experiments to Study the Influence of International Law

Recent scholarship on international law has stressed the role that domestic politics has in driving compliance with international legal agreements. Despite this theoretical trend in the scholarship, there has been limited evidence that has linked changes in the status of international law to shifts in domestic political calculuses. As a result, I have begun a project to use survey experiments to try and explore the conditions under which information on the status of international law can change public support for public policies. 

John Marshall If you can't move, be ambiguous

Although political information is receiving increasing attention, most analysts focus on the acquisition and / consumption of information. This paper instead focuses on the strategic supply of information by political / parties. The paper proposes a new explanation for party platform ambiguity: where policy-motivated parties / are not completely flexible in the policies they can present to the electorate, they use ambiguity to move the / expected policy outcome toward their ideal point. This underlying motivation applies in both majoritarian / and proportional electoral systems, despite the two systems providing different kinds of incentives for parties / to be ambiguous. The model is applied to redistributive politics, and suggests that income inequality / typically increases platform ambiguity, especially for left parties. Empirical analysis of 15 Western European / democracies using expert surveys to reduce bias in measures of ambiguity provides support for the / theoretical model.

Joseph Luna Turning to National or Local Politicians in Ghana

I investigate an assumption that citizens in developing African democracies primarily turn to national legislators to resolve their problems. Drawing from a survey administered to 2809 Ghanaian cocoa farmers in Fall 2009, I employ a non-parametric matching design to determine which factors drive these farmers to seek help from the following political figures: local assembly members, chiefs, district heads, regional ministers and Members of Parliament. I find greatly nuanced results across treatments spanning economic, political and demographic dimensions.

Shahrzad Sabet Feelings First: Non-Material Factors as Moderators of Economic Self-Interest Effects on Trade Preferences

A central debate in the study of public opinion toward trade concerns the relative importance of material self-interest versus symbolic non-material factors (e.g., nationalism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, etc.) as sources of trade preferences. Existing studies have taken a uniform and simplistic approach to the problem: they focus on the average individual and report how much or how little economic and non-economic factors affect trade opinion. The microfoundations of preference formation – the particular role of these two types of factors, their relationship to one another, and the general psychological underpinnings of the process – have neither been theorized nor investigated empirically. My paper addresses this significant gap in the international political economy literature.  I find that affective, non-material factors (i.e., factors based on an automatic emotional – rather than a deliberate cognitive – response) enjoy priority over economic self-interest in the formation of public opinion toward international trade. I analyze data from a new survey of over 4,000 U.S. workers to show that the effect of industry – a key measure of material self-interest in political economy models trade preferences – is conditional upon the strength of an individual’s attitudes toward foreign cultures: material self-interest is a second order consideration that acquires salience only when strong symbolic predispositions are lacking. Non-material, symbolic sources of trade preferences enjoy a higher level of priority: they are first order factors that can altogether trump the contribution of economic self-interest to an individual’s stance on trade.

Erin Baggott Testing the Security Dilemma in US-China Relations, 1949-2011

This dissertation project will bring four new datasets to bear on the analysis of reciprocity, rising power dynamics, uncertainty, and strategic misrepresentation in US-China relations over 1949-2011. The current literature on these topics tends to fall into the qualitative case study approach or the Correlates of War-type large-N approach.

This dissertation will create new day-level event and perception datasets to examine how these processes unfold over time.  Western event data are drawn from articles on China from a larger corpus of 1.3 million New York Times articles on interstate affairs, 1851-2011, and the Chinese event data are drawn from a machine translated corpus of 50,000 People's Daily articles on the United States, 1949-2011.

Michael Gill Boundedly Rational Sources of State Stability and Failure

In this paper I present an evolutionary model of state failure where citizens engage in pairwise conflicts over time.  Evolutionarily stable strategies  depend on the material benefits of violence, the government's ability to defend  attacks, the punishments associated with failed rebellion, as well as  initial mixtures of citizen-strategy combinations in the population. These factors  influence the replicator dynamics of citizen strategies and  determine whether the state will  asymptotically decay into failure.