Fall 2011 Posters

Fall 2011 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.

George Yin Export competition, currency choice and the political economy of exchange rate policies
This paper presents a game theoretic model that explicates how export competition and how currencies exporters use to price their products (currency choice) affect exchange rate level preference. The model suggests that the exchange rate level of an export competitor will affect a country’s ideal exchange rate level, conditional upon the degree of export profile similarity between the two countries and the proportion of exporters that adopt Local Currency Pricing (LCP). The model also illustrates that the degree to which a government cares about general societal welfare provides no clear indication of whether or not a government will manipulate its exchange rate level.

Joan Cho Political Consequences of Mass Mobilization for War: A Theory of War, Unionization, and Democratization
Why do some countries democratize after experiencing mass interstate wars while others don't? Using the threshold model, I graphically illustrate my argument in three steps: (1) war increases government's demand for labor, which in turn increases the collective bargaining power of unions as well as the incentives for workers to join unions; (2) organized labor needs to be sustained and unified to maintain that sudden increase in collective bargaining power during wartime; and (3) democracy may lock in the sudden increased collective bargaining power of organized labor while economic/political concession (without democratic reform) may not.

Elena Llaudet Parties' Strategic Behavior as a Source of Incumbency Advantage: An Analysis of Spanish Senatorial Elections in the Post-Franco Era
The literature on incumbency advantage has focused primarily on the actions of politicians and not parties. In this paper, I find that most of the incumbency advantage in Spanish senatorial elections comes from the strategic behavior of parties. In particular, I argue that Spanish parties place favored, vulnerable incumbents first on the ballot to boost their chances of electoral success.

Prithviraj Datta A Progressive Defense of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission
The Supreme Court's decision in the case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission sparked outrage among progressive scholars and commentators, who argued that the decision would have the effect of opening the floodgates to corporate political spending in campaigns, thereby reducing the ability of ordinary individuals to intervene in the political process. In the course of my presentation, I hope to provide a normative argument - relying on empirical findings - for why Citizens Unitedmay actually have the effect of enhancing political participation by citizens, instead of reducing it.

Janet Lewis Initiating Insurgency: Rebel Formation and Viability in Uganda
This project examines the initial stages of rebel group formation, focusing on why only some nascent rebel groups become viable challengers to a central government. The project draws on extensive qualitative and quantitative evidence gathered throughout Uganda on all 16 rebel groups that operated there between 1986 and 2006, and detailed case studies of four of these groups. A central argument emerging from analysis of these cases is that the ethnic demography of the civilian population where new rebel groups form importantly influences whether or not rebels become viable.

Christopher Rhodes Political Christianity: Internal Structure and Church Political Activity.
This project seeks to explain the political involvement of Christian churches (national-levelo denominations) in national politics.  Using logit analysis, I test the relationships between political orientation of the churches (such as pro-government vs pro-opposition) and variables measuring organizational structure and leadership of the churches.  I find evidence that certain types of church organizational structure are correlated with particular political orientations.

Jeehye Kim Why do signatory states to the 1951 Convention on Refugees states vary in their refugee acceptance policy?
In East Asia, countries that are signatories to the 1951 United Nation’s Convention  relating to the Status of Refugees and  the 1967 Protocol have been less likely to accept and  resettle refugees and stateless persons than states that are not parties to the Convention and Protocol. Why are states that are not signatories more willing to resettle refugees and deeply cooperate with UN bodies on refugee/stateless people than states that are signatories? I hypothesize that establishing a linkage between the host state, IO, and the host society could be an important factor in explaining refugee policy.

Brandon Stewart, Molly Roberts, Edo Airoldi Topic Models and Structure
We introduce a Bayesian hierarchical model for analyzing topical content in which each document is about a mix topics. The main innovation is that the topic proportions in our model are specified as a simple function of an arbitrary number of covariates, such as the source of the news wires and time, enabling researchers to introduce structure into the problem. The imposed structure, in turn, drives estimation and inference, and ultimately helps identify topics that are specific to combinations of the covariates.

Bernard Fraga Partisan Influence and Race in Congressional Elections
Past theories of racial politics assume racial bloc voting, often ignoring partisanship and the intra-party dynamics of the congressional election process. I use data on the ethnic background of all Democratic and Republican party nominees for 2006, 2008, and 2010, combined with party registration statistics broken down by ethnic group, to quantify the influence each ethnic group has within each party (or partisan influence) for all available congressional districts. Then, I examine how changes in the influence an ethnic group holds determine rates of co-ethnic, co-partisan nomination. I find that, on average, Whites need far less influence than Blacks or Latinos to get better-than-even odds of having a co-ethnic nominee from their district, across both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Adam Chilton The Politics of "Suggestions of Immunity": An Empirical Analysis of the State Department's Sovereign Immunity Decisions from 1952 to 1977
From the adoption of a restrictive theory of sovereign immunity in 1952 to the passage of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act in 1977, the State Department was left the discretion to determine if foreign governments should be given immunity from suit in the United States. This policy offers an excellent opportunity to study American Foreign Policy priorities during the Cold War, but has not been the subject of a single empirical study. I have built an original dataset of all the requests for immunity during this period, and my results suggest that concern for allies significantly impacted the evolution of State Department policy.

Richard Nielsen Using Text to Measure Jihadi Ideology among Islamic Clerics
This research explains why some Islamic clerics adopt the ideology of militant Jihad while others do not.  I argue that two factors --- educational socialization and strategic constituency-seeking --- largely determine cleric adoption of Jihadi ideology.  I test these arguments by applying statistical text analysis methods to 8,552 Islamic fatwas issued by 45 historical and contemporary clerics.

Michael Gill and Andy Hall Female Judicial Assignment and the Content of Appellate Opinions
Our project examines whether the presence of one or more female judges affects the semantic content of appellate court rulings. This question is important because it is the text of published rulings that will inform future cases by precedent. Using automated content analysis, we analyze published rulings for cases in which all three appellate judges are men, and for cases in which there is at least one female judge, and we find that the presence of a female judge changes the manner in which the rulings are written to a significant degree.

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Konstantin Kashin Is Social Policy ‘Popularly Demanded’? Explaining Variation in American Unemployment Insurance Generosity
Why is there so much variation in the generosity of social benefits across different governments? In this paper we evaluate explanations for variation in unemployment insurance (UI) generosity premised on the importance of interest groups as well as explanations premised on individual preferences and behavior. We do this by studying the sources of variation in UI generosity within the United States. Our findings cast doubt on existing explanations premised on individual preferences at both the micro level, using national survey data, and the macro level, using a new dataset of state-level economic outcomes, social policies, and political institutions from 1991 to 2007. Rather, our macro level findings support explanations premised on employer interests in social policy. Specifically we find that the skill profile of a state – the share of workers in highly skilled occupations – is a substantively important determinant of variation in UI generosity over time within states.

Kris-Stella Trump Income Inequality: Perceptions and Preferences
The project looks at public perceptions of income inequality and their relationship to public preferences regarding inequality. Perceptions of income differences are a strong predictor of preferences for income differences; stronger that the respondent's own income and partisan identity. This is a work in progress so further questions are asked, and preliminary methodological ideas floated.

Julie Faller and Noah Nathan The Politicization of Identity: Ethnic Mobilization in African Opposition Parties
Are opposition parties more likely than incumbents to mobilize support along ethnic lines in African elections? We examine the different incentives facing opposition and ruling parties in Africa for ethnic political mobilization. Using Afrobarometer survey data from 14 African countries, we find that self-identified opposition supporters are more likely to identify with their ethnic groups in four countries.

Erin Baggot The Relative Effectiveness of Economic versus Military Aid in Combating Terrorism: A Study of Africa
This paper uses an instrumental variables approach to examine the causal impact of disaggregated US foreign aid flows on terrorism in African countries from 1970 to 2008. The results indicate that military aid does not statistically significantly affect terrorism in Africa. Economic aid statistically significantly decreases armed assaults, assassinations, hijackings, uncategorized attacks, and attacks on the police, but leads to more kidnappings.