June 2018 Recipients
What shapes the quality of the politicians that compete and win elections? Abundant research in political science has shown that the competenceof politicians plays an important role in the success of policies and policy outcomes. Less is known, however, about the forces that mold the characteristics of the politicians that run for office. In my research, I show that when the availability of rents and illegal income increases, more incompetent politicians are drawn to politics. In particular, I analyze the effect of increases of illegal revenue derived from informal and illegal gold mining in Peru and find that when these resources increase, the number of candidates with criminal records also increases. This is consistent with the idea that when rent-seeking opportunities abound, more people who want to take hold of those rents will compete for office. This project uses data on over 8,000 local politicians in the municipal provinces of Peru, including their education, career paths and criminal records.
My larger project aims to understand the political sources of variation in the stringency, enforceability and ambitiousness of state-level climate policies in the United States. In order to do this, I will be conducting in-depth case studies of a decade of climate policies adopted in California, Massachusetts and Oregon. In particular, in California — the most populous U.S. state, which is also widely regarded as the nation’s leader on climate policy — I will be using APSA funds to understand why so much of the policymaking action was delegated to an executive branch agency, under a Republican governor, rather than undertaken by the Democrat-controlled state legislature. I will be analyzing the implications of this decision to delegate for the distribution of political power among interest groups operating at the state level.
How does the normalization of state violence at U.S. land ports of entry impact transborder commuters’ overall sense of legal empowerment? Transborder commuters are a heterogeneous population including U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, and Mexican nationals who regularly cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. Using a mixed method approach, including in-depth interviews, focus-groups, and an original survey, I explore the various ways transborder commuters from the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso region interpret their border crossing experiences and legitimize discriminatory border policing practices from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. Preliminary evidence suggests that individuals
who reported that their experience crossing the border was positive or “normal,” were not precluded experiencing other consequences from crossing, including direct impacts to their health or experiencing civil and human rights violations. However, these same individuals were more likely to legitimize discrimination as part of a daily routine and were less likely to denounce or file formal complaints when they experienced rights violations. While some expressed fear of retaliation from CBP, my qualitative data suggests that individuals rationalize the various forms of state violence at the border as the price to pay to be able to successfully
cross and lead a binational lifestyle. In addition to providing original data on a highly underresearched
population, my project demonstrates that despite having the legal documentation to cross, transborder commuters significantly underreport rights violations in a federal space that many civil liberties organizations, including the ACLU, argue that should not represent “a constitutional gray-zone.” This lack of reporting from legal border entrants could contribute to the culture of unaccountability among U.S. immigration and border enforcement agencies.
Political parties, in their essence, articulate citizens’ interests to the government. In so doing, they serve the critical function of representation in democratic politics. Scholars who study political parties seek to understand the ways in which this representative link between parties and voters is achieved. Generally, this is done by indirect examination of this relationship through a comparison between parties’ policy positions and voters’ policy preferences in search of commonalities between the two. My project proposes a new approach that directly examines the behaviour of political parties through an analysis of their campaign ads and manifestos in order to understand their representational intentions. To do so I develop the concept of parties’ “representational claims”: who and/or what do parties themselves claim to represent, focusing on ideas and groups. This concept brings together parties’ engagement in both the politics of issues and the politics of identity and allows for a more nuanced classification of political parties. I use the resultant classification of parties to examine what implications it might have for processes of candidate selection and coalition formations.
Are European countries abiding by the Geneva Convention and granting asylum to those who fear persecution for reason of “race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular group or political opinion”? Up to now, the lack of micro-level data on asylum decisions has limited researchers’ ability to answer this question. In this study, I take advantage of an unprecedented effort in transparency from the French asylum office, which opened its archives ten years ago. I digitized a representative sample of more than 4,000 asylum applications filed in the last 40 years, putting together the first in-depth, micro-level dataset on asylum decisions. For the first time, these data allow me to examine whether France is indeed granting asylum to those in need of protection.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) enforced the abolishment of Jim Crow laws that had prevented Blacks from voting since the beginning of the 20th century. It is broadly considered a watershed moment in enfranchisement in the U.S. and the culmination of the long Civil Rights Movement. And yet, as contemporary discussions about voter ID laws and the availability of early voting make clear, concerns about minority voter suppression have not ended since its passage. In this research project, we study whether and to what extent institutions of the carceral state — that is, police, the courts and the prison system — have been used by white elites in the South as a tool of minority voter suppression after Jim Crow laws were rendered unusable. To test whether carceral institutions became a de facto “New Jim Crow” — differentially targeted at Blacks to disrupt their communities and keep them from the polls — we are collecting data on historical prison intake records by race and by county across the South with the assistance of an APSA Centennial Grant. Using this data, we can evaluate whether the implementation of the VRA resulted in an increase in rates of Black incarceration. And by exploring differences in changing rates of Black incarceration between jurisdictions in the South alternatively more or less subject to key provisions of the VRA, we can evaluate whether changes were in fact a strategic political response to the VRA rather than simply the result of other coincident changes such as rising crime rates. Our research aims to improve our understanding of how political elites substitute between different strategies of voter suppression to maintain their power, and to shed light on the possible historical origins of contemporary Black mass incarceration in the U.S.
Elections are the primary means through which ‘ordinary’ citizens participate in politics. But the process of organizing these mass mobilizations of the citizenry is hardly an easy task. Voters must be registered, district boundaries drawn, and polling stations set up and staffed. In each country, these tasks are fulfilled by a unique combination of different government agencies and departments. However, we know relatively little about which organization is involved in which types of tasks across countries. This project will collect data on the types of bodies involved in running elections in 173 countries, and uncover how the types of bodies that run election matter for electoral integrity.
This project examines educational policy development on language course implementation in public secondary school language instruction in Oaxaca, Mexico and California, USA. Indigenous people in both Mexico and the US are some of each country’s most marginalized citizens, with past generations subject to explicit genocidal state agendas, and current generations dealing with culturecide, meaning the intentional repression of indigenous culture, including language. This project assesses indigenous heritage language learning and teaching as forms of resistance to state homogenization agendas. Indigenous youth identity formation operates as a mechanism that connects indigenous language classes to different forms of civic, cultural, and political participation.
A common occurrence in the aftermath of nearly every high-profile incident of a police officer killing a civilian since the 2014 death of Michael Brown has been contentious disagreement over whether the officer’s actions leading up to the death were appropriate. Even with the public availability of news reports and even, in some cases, video recordings of the incident, many in the public still perceive the officer’s actions differently despite seeing the same evidence. What is causing this difference in perception? We argue that the racial identity of the individual interacts with the race of the officer and civilian involved to produce a perception of police actions. When the officer is White and the civilian is Black, Whites in the public should be more likely to perceive the killing as justified, and the opposite should occur if the officer/civilian race is switched. We will test this argument using an original survey experiment involving three treatments. In the control treatment, respondents will read a fictional news article without any identifying information about the officer or civilian. In the “stereotypical” treatment, we will present pictures along with the article identifying the officer as White and the civilian as Black. In the “counter-stereotypical” treatment, we will present the identities reversed. Including a robust set of other information about respondents, we will use this survey to determine whether racial identity influences the public perception of police violence against civilians.
Most previous studies find no overwhelming gender gap in support for female political candidates. In other words, women do not consistently support female candidates. Why is that the case? Existing work insists the explanation is simply that gender identity is a weak predictor compared to partisanship. I propose instead that two strong but countervailing subgroup identities divide women: “feminism” and “non-feminism.” Rather than failing to have a positive attachment to their gender group, many women who actually endorse the basic tenets of feminist ideology will still vote against a female candidate because that candidate is explicitly associated with feminism. It is the aversive reaction to the label, rather than the actual substance of their politics, that drives many “non-labelers” away from women candidates. Relying on evidence from the 2016 American National Election Study and an experiment conducted on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, I show that feminist and non-feminist identities are key to explaining and predicting what kinds of candidates are more likely to win voter support. This sets the foundation for my dissertation, which will involve a further experiment examining the impact of feminist/non-feminist self-labeling and ideology on electoral support across genders. This work will enable us to better understand the opportunities and obstacles faced by women candidates as well as improve their electoral prospects in the United States and other democracies around the world.
Partisanship has become increasingly more influential in determining voter behavior. Research in American politics has shown that strong partisanship emerges especially when voters associate parties with distinct groups of voters, identify themselves with one of these groups, and consider their group as morally superior to the other group. My research asks two questions. First, does this form of group-based partisan identity apply to younger democracies with less consolidated party systems and institutional structures? Second, what are the determinants of group–based partisan identities in younger democracies? In order to respond to these questions, I am conducting a nationally representative survey in Turkey, together with Melis Laebens, a Ph. D. Candidate at Yale University. In this survey, we first explore the level of group-based partisan identities in Turkey. Secondly, we explore the effects of economic fears, fears about political freedom, contact with local party branches, and daily contact with other party voters on the emergence and strength of group-based partisan identities. We will share our findings at the “Annual Graduate Student Conference on Turkish Politics & Society”, which will be held at Columbia University on February 1, 2019.
The rise of transnational enterprises – which began in the late nineteenth century, and accelerated after the end of the Second World War and again after the Cold War – has put workers at a disadvantage. On the one hand, big companies have been able to build supply chains and sales networks that reach across the globe. On the other hand, differences in custom, language and law have remained formidable barriers to transnational cooperation among workers. Yet, thanks to recent advances in information technology, transnational communication, and travel, it has become much easier for everyone – including workers – to engage across borders. Have these advances enabled workers to deepen cross-border cooperation enough to narrow the power imbalance between them and the transnational enterprises? My research addresses this question through a case-study analysis of four recent efforts by the United Auto Workers to unionize foreign-owned vehicle assembly plants in the southern United States: Freightliner Trucks in North Carolina, Mercedes in Alabama, Nissan in Mississippi, and Volkswagen in Tennessee. I also am investigating the UAW’s earlier efforts to organize foreign-owned vehicle assembly plants and workers in the southern U.S. This research will help our understanding of not only union organizing efforts in an era of globalization, but also larger issues, such as economic inequality, the voice of employees in the workplace, and the balance of power within the global
Our project examines professional networks at academic conferences. Professional networks and communities of mentors, collaborators, and readers play an important part in every scholar’s success. Research shows that women and scholars of color are excluded from important networks, and are perceived as less central to networks than their male, white counterparts. One major reason for the relative isolation of women and minorities is that academic networks are gendered – men network mostly with other men, and their networks are perceived as more important, and women mostly network with other women. The result is that men, who comprise 65% of membership in the American Political Science Association (APSA, 2018), largely read, cite, and promote the work of other men. We propose that gendered networks are nurtured partly through panel attendance at professional conferences: male conference attendees turn out at higher rates to hear male, white panelists, and female attendees turn out at higher rates to hear female, white panelists. This matters because networks influence how scholars disseminate and receive feedback on their work, which in turn affects publication, citations, and other career opportunities. Our findings will inform efforts to promote the success of scholars from historically marginalized groups.