Visiting Speaker Series
POSC is fortunate to host some of the top thinkers in political science who share their most recent research and innovations with our students and faculty.
Miriam Golden - "Voting Machine Technology and Electoral Fraud in Ghana's 2012 National Election"
Can sophisticated voting machines equipped with biometric identification technology combat electoral fraud in emerging democracies? Prof. Miriam Golden (UCLA) as she discussed results from a randomized field experiment conducted during Ghana’s 2012 national election that investigate the promise and limitations of this new technology, and examine the ways that electoral competitors seek to manipulate it. 04/27/16
Dan Hopkins - "The Increasingly United States"
The American federal system gives substantial authority to states and localities, and yet American voters focus much of their attention on national politics. Prof. Daniel Hopkins (University of Pennsylvania) explored the increasing nationalization of Americans' political behavior and how it connects to changes in the political parties as well as the structure of the mass media. 04/22/16
Stanislav Markus - "Property, Predation, and Protection: Mitigating Political Risks in Emerging Markets"
What threatens the property rights of business owners in modern developing countries – and what makes these rights secure? Prof. Stanislav Markus (University of Chicago) spoke on the conventional diagnosis of this issue by moving beyond the problems of expropriation by state rulers or bureaucratic corruption. Taking Russia and Ukraine between 2000 and 2012 as his empirical focus, Markus identified several types of state threats to property rights, and argued that businesses can hold predatory state agents accountable through firm-level alliances with foreign actors, labor, and local communities. 04/18/15
Claire Adida - "The Spousal Bump: Shoring Support in Multiethnic Elections"
Claire Adida (UC San Diego) gave a talk about the effect of cross-ethnic marriages on politicians’ ability to garner support across the ethnic aisle. Using data from a survey in Benin, where President Thomas Yayi is married across ethnic lines, Adida showed that priming the first lady’s ethnicity increases support among her coethnics, suggesting that Yayi's cross-ethnic marriage can shore up support in multiethnic elections. 04/27/15
Donald Green - "Social Pressure and Voter Turnout"
In this talk, Donald Green (Columbia University) synthesized the burgeoning experimental literature on the effects of prescriptive social norms on voter turnout, calling attention to anomalies and unresolved theoretical questions. 04/20/15
Tabitha Bonilla - "The Impact of Campaign Promises on Voter Evaluations of Candidates"
Tabitha Bonilla presented the results of a conjoint survey experiment that measures how politicians' promises matter to voters and how candidate rhetoric impacts the way voters determine a candidate's position on an issue. 03/04/15
Jennifer Jerit - "The Question(s) of Political Knowledge"
Jennifer Jerit (Stony Brook University) presented her paper which identifies two theoretically relevant dimensions: a temporal dimension that corresponds to the time when a fact was established and a topical dimension that relates to whether the fact is policy-specific or general. The resulting typology yielded four types of knowledge questions. In an analysis of more than 300 knowledge items from the late 2000s, she examined whether classic findings regarding the predictors of knowledge withstand differences across types of questions. 02/25/15
Michael Tesler - "Priming Predispositions and Changing Policy Positions"
Michael Tesler of University of California, Irvine presented research on how political communications prime or change citizens’ underlying opinions. Integrating prior research with original analyses from five new cases, Tesler contended media and campaign content tend to prime citizens’ predispositions and change their policy positions. 12/01/14
Courtenay Conrad and Nate Monroe - "Agenda Setters Don't Vote 'No': The Effect of Agenda Control on Voting Behavior in the United Nations General Assembly" "
Courtenay Conrad and Nate Monroe of University of California, Merced presented their investigation of agenda-setting procedures in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that theorizes how, under particular conditions, a country can manipulate the agenda to wield disproportional power over UNGA decisions. Conrad and Monroe find support for their hypothesis using original data that tracks UNGA proposal items from inception to final disposition. 10/01/14
John Gerring - "Demography and Democracy: A Global, District-level Analysis of Electoral Contestation"
Prof. John Gerring of Boston University spoke to POSC students, faculty, and staff about some of his latest work, including a very unique dataset: the Multi-level Election Archive (MLEA) which, using data from electoral contests across a variety of district sizes and elective offices in 134 countries over 200 years, has shown that some features of electoral democracy are actually enhanced by a larger population. 05/05/2014
Ricardo Ramirez - "Mobilizing Opportunities: The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics"
Our very own POSC alum and now Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, Ricardo Ramirez presented his latest work, Mobilizing Opportunities, to an engaged crowd of students, faculty, and local California government officials.
Drawing upon original surveys, government statistics, and community data from Latino civic organizations, Mobilizing Opportunities, goes beyond the traditional predictors of political participation to examine the mobilizing effects of identity-based political threats and ethics appeals to solidarity in response to such community assaults. Ramirez offers a theory of interplay of state political contexts and ethnic identities to explain how these communities are mobilized into political action. 03/10/2014
James H. Fowler - "A 61-Million-Person Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization"
Prof. James H. Fowler of UC San Diego discussed the results of a randomized, controlled trial of political mobilization messages delivered to 61 million Facebook users during the 2010 US congressional elections that directly influenced political self-expression, information seeking and real-world voting behavior of millions of people. The messages also influenced users’ friends, and friends of friends, showing that the effect of social transmission on real-world voting was greater than the direct effect of the messages themselves. Nearly all the transmission occurred between ‘close friends’ who were more likely to have a face-to-face relationship. These results suggest that strong ties are instrumental for spreading both online and real-world behavior in human social networks. 03/03/2014
Thad Dunning - "Race, Resources, and Representation: Evidence from Brazilian Politicians"
Thad Dunning, Robson Professor of Political Science at UC Berkley, presented his latest research that uses new and original data to document the size of the racial divergence between Brazilian citizens and their elected politicians, and to test several alternative explanations for the representational gap. The discussion explored the persistence of Brazilian racial or ethnic inequalities in political representation, in the absence of strongly politicized racial or ethnic cleavages, given Brazil’s alleged “racial democracy” as well as electoral institutions that should be favorable to racial inclusiveness. 02/27/2014
Kathleen Bawn - "Parties on the Ground: A Preliminary Report on Nominations to Open House Seats"
Kathleen Bawn reported on the very preliminary findings from field studies of nomination contests for open House seats in the 2014 election cycle, including those for special elections called to fill seats vacated midterm. Her data consisted of semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and observers: local party officials, activists, consultants, representatives of advocacy and interest groups, journalists and bloggers. Interview data was supplemented with analysis of contributions and spending, political biographies of candidates who have held prior office, and information from political blogs. In contrast to existing studies which have generally taken a candidate-centered point of view, her research focused on the organizations, interest groups and activists to whom nomination-seeking candidates turn for support. 01/27/2014
Jack Citrin & David O. Sears - "American Identity and the Politics of Multiculturalism"
Jack Citrin and David O. Sears examined the structure of political identities in the aftermath of historic changes in the United States resulting from the civil rights movement and immigration reform. The talk was based on chapter 6 of their book, which analyzes relations between national and ethnic identifications among whites, black, and Latinos. 11/11/2013
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