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Current Students in Residence
Students with Postdoctoral Fellowships


Current Students in Residence

Barbera.jpgPablo Barberá

Pablo Barberá is a PhD candidate in the Politics Department and a graduate research associate of the Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) laboratory, specializing in comparative political behavior and political methodology. His dissertation addresses the relationship between social media usage and political polarization. In contrast to previous studies, he argues that the consumption of political information through social media induces ideological moderation, because it increases exposure to politically diverse content generated by weak social ties, which tend to be more ideologically heterogeneous. To examine this question, he develops a new method to estimate dynamic ideological positions for political actors and citizens from their social media networks that replicate conventional measures of ideology. Combining evidence from survey and social media data in the United States, Spain, and Germany, he shows that exposure to diverse political information on social media reduces political extremism. In addition to his dissertation work, he has co-authored papers that examine political responsiveness in the U.S. Congress using social media data, media coverage of economic news measured with machine learning methods, and the electoral consequences of corruption scandals. His work appears or is forthcoming in the journals Political Analysis and Political Science Research and Methods.

brett_NYU_website.jpgBrett Allen Casper

Brett Allen Casper is a PhD candidate (expected Spring 2015) in the Department of Politics at NYU who specializes in international relations, comparative politics, and political economy. His research examines the causes and effects of regime change with a particular focus on information flows and coordination. More specifically, his dissertation examines how different political events – at either the international or the domestic level – impact individuals who are contemplating attempts at regime change by providing new and valuable information to key actors. Applying this framework, he demonstrates empirically that (1) popular protests provide information that helps elites coordinate in a coup, (2) mass killings provide information that discourages “audience groups” from rebelling, and (3) IMF programs provide information that helps elites to coordinate and remove a leadership. The first paper from his dissertation – on popular protests – has recently been published in the Journal of Politics. In addition to his research on regime change, Brett also conducts research on international human rights.

IMG_5006h.jpgIulia Cioroianu

Iulia Cioroianu is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Politics at New York University. During the 2014-2015 academic year she will be a pre-doctoral fellow in the Department of Methodology at London School of Economics and Political Science. Iulia's research focuses on electoral competition, candidate and party positions, and campaigns and social media, while making use of a diverse set of quantitative research methods such as econometric analysis, text analytics, agent-based modeling and experiments. Her dissertation studies partisan projection effects among political actors. Using a survey of U.S. Congress candidates that she conducted before the 2012 elections, together with natural language processing and quantitative text analysis of their social media posts, she shows that candidates have biased perceptions of the political environment as well as of other political actors' ideological positions and that candidate projection is related to the intensity of political competition. To measure the level of expressed competition in candidate language she developed and implemented an automated dictionary-building method which can be used to generate dictionaries for any concept of interest, with minimal initial human input. A cross-national survey experiment that Iulia designed and conducted further shows that perceptual bias effects are universal and can emerge as a psychological response to political competition. In a separate co-authored paper, she analyzed partisan projection effects among voters from several Central and Eastern European countries and found that in the post-communist context, voters perceive their preferred party as more right-leaning, regardless of the party's true left-right ideological position.

Cormack.jpgLindsey Cormack

Lindsey Cormack is a PhD candidate in the Politics Department, specializing in American politics. Her research focuses on the US Congress, political communication, and women in politics. Her dissertation develops and tests a theory of strategic vote revelation in constituent communications. Using an originally collected data set of over 100,000 official e-newsletters and Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds from the US House and Senate, text analysis, and empirical statistical approaches, she shows that US legislators attempt to align their publicly communicated votes with the ideological make up of their reelection constituencies while their overall voting behavior remains more aligned with the ideological make up of their financial donors. Her research provides evidence that while legislators seek to create a public image to fit their constituency, their actual voting behavior responds more to financial interests.

Kang1.jpgWoo Chang Kang

Woo Chang Kang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics, specializing in Comparative Political Economy. His dissertation develops a dynamic theory of distributive politics where incumbents target marginal voters before an election but cater to core supporters after an election. In contrast to conventional models centered on contingent exchanges of votes and benefits, he claims that incumbents use particularistic spending as a way to boost local economic conditions prior to an election. This improves voters’ perceptions of the national economy and their evaluation of incumbents’ competence. He tests this theory in three developed democracies: the United States, South Korea, and Japan. Using panel data, he analyzes whether and how the main beneficiaries of government resources change over electoral cycles in each country. He also examines how voters respond to government spending and/or local economic conditions before elections via multi-level analysis of survey responses combined with local indicators.

marko1.jpgMarko Klašnja

Marko Klašnja is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at New York University. During the 2014-2015 academic year, he will be a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. Marko specializes in comparative politics and political behavior, primarily focusing on factors that promote or hinder the electoral accountability of corrupt politicians. His dissertation seeks to explain the counter-intuitive phenomenon of incumbency disadvantage – that incumbents are less likely to win than very similar non-incumbents – that is often common in newer and developing democracies, by focusing on the effect of corruption. Theoretically, he develops a formal model that predicts that incumbency disadvantages most easily arises when the cost to being corrupt is low and when incumbents can become increasingly corrupt during their time in office. To test this model, he collected a wide range of data from Romania, including politicians' wealth declarations, more than 3 million public procurement contracts, and thousands of corruption prosecutions. Exploiting discontinuous jumps in salary as an exogenous source of variation in corruption among Romanian mayors, he finds strong support for his theory. He also studies the effect of corruption on voting behavior and the political economy of conflict spread and development. His work has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Theoretical Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Electoral Studies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Problems of Post-Communism, and Panoeconomicus.

Park1.jpgJu Yeon Park

Ju Yeon Park is a PhD candidate in the Department of Politics at New York University, specializing in American Politics and Comparative Politics. Her dissertation investigates when fact-finding committees hold public hearings, which types of hearings are held, and the policy implications of these hearings. She uses game-theoretic models and lab experiments to test the theory. Her research contributes to the literature on strategic information transmission in legislative decision-making processes. She finds that committee members tend to grandstand and hinder information transmission when they have diverging interests on policy and as the political benefit of inviting advocates increases. However, when it comes to the policy decisions on the floor, grandstanding is not informative but committee members still want to hold a hearing as long as they earn political gains by doing so. She also examines the institutional effects of alternative voting rules on the floor as well as the power of the committee chair in selecting witnesses. She is currently working on empirical tests of the theory using observational data on hearings in the U.S. Congress and ideological positions of interest groups and members of Congress.

pasquale_web.jpgBen Pasquale

Benjamin Pasquale is a PhD Candidate in Politics at NYU (defending in September 2014). During the 2014-2015 academic year, he will be a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California. In his dissertation, How Inclusive Representation Shapes Maoist Violence in India, Ben analyzes how ethnic quotas shape ongoing political violence in Jharkhand, India. To investigate the longstanding theoretical prediction that the relative political inclusion of ethnic groups affects patterns of political violence, he develops a field research design using a discontinuity strategy and implements an original household survey. Ben finds causal evidence that, under specific conditions, inclusion reduces village-level Maoist violence - with implications for the study of ethnic inclusion, federalism, and institutional design in conflict zones. Beyond his dissertation, Ben has completed working papers on questions of political violence and development in India and beyond. These papers, including a co-authored publication in the American Journal of Political Science, utilize original datasets and novel research designs allowing for causal inference.

tysonScott Tyson

Scott A. Tyson is a PhD candidate (expected Spring 2015) in the Department of Politics at NYU who specializes in formal political theory, political economy, authoritarian politics, and collective action. His research examines the effects of strategic uncertainty in settings where the collective action of different groups are related, either strategically, informationally, or both. The first paper in his research agenda – on popular protests and coups – has recently been published in the Journal of Politics. Additionally, he has analyzed the feedback that occurs between citizen coordination in a revolt and the compliance of military officers tasked with orchestrating a mass killing to show that mass killings deter rebellion from groups who are not the targets of violence. He also studies two-sided collective action, the political economy of leadership, and accountability in non-democratic regimes.


Students with Postdoctoral Fellowships

Bausch_Andrew.jpgAndrew W. Bausch

Andrew W. Bausch received his PhD from New York University in May 2014 and is currently a fellow in the Department of Social and Decisions Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. His dissertation, entitled “Three Essays on Regime Type and Warfare,” examines how domestic political institutions shape how leaders select into and fight wars. In particular, he addresses why democracies tend not to fight each other and why they tend to win the wars they enter. His job market paper, “Coup-proofing and Military Inefficiencies: An Experiment,” demonstrates the conditions under which leaders will delegate military power inefficiently, hoping to deter coups at the expense of battlefield effectiveness. His work primarily relies on laboratory experiments and agent-based models. In addition to his dissertation work, he has co-authored papers using experiments to study terrorism and has used computational models to explore the spatial Prisoner's Dilemma. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and NYU's Center for Experimental Social Science. His work appears or is forthcoming in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, International Interactions, Complexity, Political Behavior, and Conflict Management and Peace Science.

Chang_120.jpgHan Il Chang

Han Il Chang is a postdoctoral researcher at University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from the Politics Department in January 2014. His research focuses on the political influences of social norms and group identity, drawing on the literature of both behavioral economics and social psychology and using formal and experimental approaches. Within that broad category of study, he has explored a variety of topics: the role of reciprocity in clientelism, the impact of reciprocity on the collective action of group members, the strategic aspects of ingroup bias, the influences of political inequality on institutional legitimacy, and anti-immigration attitudes in U.S. and South Korea.

fernandez.jpgPablo Fernandez-Vazquez

Pablo Fernandez-Vazquez is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (Vanderbilt University). He received his PhD from New York University in May 2014. He specializes in party competition and electoral accountability with a focus on Western Europe. His dissertation, “Party Rebranding in Election Campaigns”, exposes the conditions under which political parties can successfully use campaigns to redefine their policy reputation and improve their electoral performance. He shows that the effectiveness of party campaign rhetoric depends on the direction of the policy shift and whether the party has changed its leadership or not. He has also coauthored work on how the type of economic externalities of corruption conditions voter reactions to scandals. His current research analyzes how party actions, rather than rhetoric, contribute to define party images. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies and Political Science Research and Methods.

IMG_5022.JPGDídac Queralt

Didac Queralt is a postdoctoral fellow at the Juan March Institute of Social Sciences in Madrid. He received his PhD from the NYU Politics Department in September 2012. Didac specializes in comparative political economy and international relations. He studies the origins of fiscal capacity. Using formal methods, Didac has investigated tax compliance in scenarios of low fiscal capacity, as well as analyzing the origins of fiscal capacity building. He also analyzes these questions empirically using recent data from developing economies in Latin America and Eastern Europe, as well as European powers in the pre-modern era. In other projects, Didac has studied the origins of income taxation in Western Europe, both with macro- and micro-data, as well as the electoral politics underlying the expansion of the fiscal state. Currently, he is involved in a quasi-experimental test of the legacy of pre-modern wars on state capacity.

ManuelaTravaglianti.jpgManuela Travaglianti

Manuela Travaglianti is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Wilf Family Department of Politics. She is currently a Visiting Researcher at the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley and was previously a Graduate Fellow at the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation. She specializes in comparative politics, ethnic politics, and comparative political economy of developing countries, with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Her dissertation and book project is driven by the goal of understanding pre-electoral violence in ethnically divided societies. She proposes a theory of electoral violence within ethnic groups, according to which violence is employed by politicians to control the electoral support of those sharing the same ethnic identity by demobilizing coethnic opposition candidates and by coercing the support of coethnic opposition voters. Building on original qualitative and quantitative sub-national data on contemporary Burundi collected during five months of fieldwork, she shows that violence before elections intensified with political competition within the same ethnic group, and affected voting behavior by significantly increasing turnout. In additional projects she studies the emergence of economic voting in Burundi, the economic causes of civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa, post-conflict peace-building, and voting behavior through experimental methods. Her research has received support from the National Science Foundation, NYU, and Stanford.