Political Science

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Doctoral Dissertation Research: Reducing Religious Extremism Via Elite Persuasion

This project addresses three questions regarding persuasion and religious extremism among marginalized young adult men. It seeks to determine whether efforts on the part of influential group members can effectively persuade others to mitigate extremist attitudes and behavior. It studies this question in two important communities: among members of a majority religious group, as well among a minority religious group that perceives itself as victimized by the majority.

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Making Democracy Work for Women: Gender Gaps in Political Participation and Representation

Despite legal guarantees of equality, stark gaps in political participation and representation persist between men and women in democracies around the world. Evidence from advanced industrialized democracies shows that when women participate in higher numbers as voters (e.g. after the extension of suffrage rights), it produces policy shifts in line with their political preferences. However, it is unclear whether similar outcomes result in developing contexts where women?s voting rights are guaranteed in the constitution as a result of elite, rather than popular consensus.

Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Political Determinants of Economic Exchange

Confidence in basic economic exchange is an important building block for economies. This confidence in economic exchange is often affected by state institutions that possess the authority to enforce contracts which ensure agreements are not broken. In much of the world, however, weak state institutions limit the confidence of citizens and businesses that contracts and deals will be enforced fairly. As a result, economic exchange is stifled and inefficiencies persist.

Doctoral Dissertation Research: American Mayors: How Voters Choose and How Mayors Shape Policy

Questions about whether and how political leaders influence outcomes are fundamental to the study of politics. If politicians are responsive to constituent opinions, one would expect to observe similar outcomes across different leaders. In reality, though, public policy outcomes tend to vary systematically depending on who serves in elected office. This dissertation examines representation in American cities. New data reveal that American mayors, like politicians at higher levels of government, tend not to be highly representative of their constituents.

Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Politics of Status in International Development

Nations categorized as "lower income countries" or "less developed countries" by international organizations tend to receive generous financial assistance and special treatment from the international community. As countries 'graduate' from these to higher categories, the shift is viewed positively by the international community and, in turn, often results in receiving additional social and material advantages. Faced with this tradeoff, some countries attempt to remain within the developing categories, while others strive to be categorized as developed.

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