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Political Science

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Measuring Ethnic and Regional Group Differences

Ethnically heterogeneous societies are widely held to be more difficult to govern than homogeneous ones. Theoretical arguments often attribute the problems to the fact that ethnic divisions result in divergent group preferences. However, the core measure in empirical research on the problems with heterogeneous societies is ethno-linguistic fractionalization (ELF), which contains no information about the likelihood of particular groups holding divergent preferences.

Collaborative Research: Primary Elections for U.S. State and Federal Offices: A Comprehensive Database and Analysis

The emergence of the primary election process during the 20th Century is widely thought to have transformed American politics. For example, primary elections allegedly weakened political parties and fueled the rise of personalistic, incumbency oriented politics; and primary elections are though to have made politicians much more ideologically extreme than the electorate as a whole, because candidates must first win approval of a partisan subset of the electorate before they can even qualify for the general election.

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Political Science: Participation in Loyalist Protest Activities in Northern Ireland

Cultural protest actions are used by political actors around the world to achieve political objectives, but existing political science theories cannot fully explain their dynamics. In particular, the current literature does not account for why individuals participate in actions that have significant political consequences but that do not offer material inducements for participants or social punishments for non-participants. The aim of this dissertation is understand who chooses to participate in politically-relevant protest actions and why.

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Law and Social Sciences: Accountability in Multiple Fora After Extreme Mass Behavior

The second half of the 20th century saw a shift from an international system in which acts of mass extreme behavior were considered unpunishable to one in which they are generally viewed as criminally culpable conduct. When events become public, the states where they occur are now beset by calls to either prosecute those responsible or allow an international court to do so.

Political Communication and Accountability in Uganda

In many developing economies, poor social and economic outcomes are attributed in part to political decision-making that is unresponsive to the needs and preferences of citizens. Weaknesses of governance structures and social welfare in turn are associated with fragile security outcomes and economic failures that may in turn have implications for US economic and security interests. In light of these adverse outcomes, large amounts of development aid has been provided by the United States to bolster democracy and governance interventions in developing areas.

Collaborative Research: Transformations in Political Party Organizations and the Rise of Candidate-Centered Elections in the U.S., 1878-2008

Candidate-centered politics and personal voting in the United States are much stronger today than they were in the past, and party organizations are much weaker. This project asks two main questions: i) Why did this happen?; ii) What are the implications of this development for the future of American democracy?

Doctoral Dissertation Research in Political Science: Poverty Alleviation in Developing Nations

Poverty reduction is one of the central challenges for development in new democracies. Many of these democracies operate in a context of weak institutions, where policy implementation is subject to the discretion of politicians, This proposal investigates the strategies used to target private benefits and how voters' access to benefits affects their behavior. This project studies the conditions under which local politicians pursue partisan targeting strategies and when voters can circumvent these strategies.

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