Hire a Ph.D.
The following contains information about our advanced doctoral students and recent Ph.D.s currently on the academic job market.
If you would like more information, please contact our Director of Ph.D. Placement, Professor Rene Rocha. A candidate’s confidential placement file, consisting of curriculum vitae, unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a summary of student evaluation or writing samples, may be requested by a prospective employer by contacting our Graduate Program Coordinator.
Christine Bricker, American Politics
Ruoxi Du, International Relations
Yue Hu, Comparative Politics, Political Methodology
Dissertation Title: Rebuilding the Tower of Babel: Language Policy and Political Trust in China
My dissertation explores how authoritarian governments use language policy to impact public political trust. Based on a comprehensive examination through survey analyses, experiments, and large-scale text analyses, my research demonstrates that authoritarian governments, such as in China, can use language policy as a political tool to influence citizens’ political attitudes. In particular, language policy empowers the official language used by government representatives, such as street-level bureaucrats, reinforcing their political identities and enhancing citizens’ trust in them. Using an original randomized experiment in China based on a new sociolinguistic technique, my research finds robust evidence that listeners hold significantly more trust in bureaucrats who speak the official language than in those who speak dialects, even if the respondent and government representative share the same dialect. Furthermore, my research shows that language not only influences citizens’ political trust but also their understanding of political concepts. Using a computer-assisted text analysis of over one million articles from the official newspaper of the dominant party of China from 1946-2003, I indicate a refocusing strategy by which the official discourse about democracy manipulates the meaning of democracy in the Chinese political language without contradicting with the Western democratic values, while simultaneously preserving the authoritarian regime. Drawing on multiple waves of nationally representative surveys from China, my dissertation also identifies distinctive effects of improving listening, speaking, and relative proficiencies of Putonghua on Chinese citizens’ political interest, efficacy, pursuit, and institutional-based political trust. This study contributes to political science, and even the entire social science by justifying the important role of language in human social and political lives and turning the research focus from language content to language context.
Dissertation Abstract:April 11, 2018
Brian Janssen, American Politics
Dissertation Title: Dynamic Discretion: How Political Competition Affects Bureaucratic Autonomy
Sojeong Lee, International Relations
Dissertation Title: Resource Dependence and Conflict
Kyu Young Lee, International Relations
Ray Ou Yang, Comparative Politics, International Relations
Dissertation Title: The Way to a Dominant International Currency: A Political General Theory and the Prospect of the Renminbi’s Rise
This research proposes a theory of interstate monetary security to explain what determines the international use of a currency. While recognizing the importance of economic factors, this theory illuminates how domestic political economic institutions, defensive alliances, and interstate disputes affect the inter-currency competition for superiority in the world economy. I tested this theory with my global data on confidential monetary relationships, which were obtained using an econometric estimation method, and critical historical cases. After that, I applied the theory to looking at China's currency, the renminbi (RMB). This research shows that some institutional mechanisms adopted by the Chinese Communist Party for political survival are conducive to the international use of the RMB. The RMB's rise hangs on whether China can maintain the economic development and those mechanisms.
Dissertation Abstract:October 3, 2017
Michael Ritter, American Politics, Comparative Politics
Dissertation Title: Accessible Voting and Political Inequality: Voting Reform Laws and Reshaping Voter Turnout in the American States
Why have state convenience voting laws had such a limited impact on voter turnout and turnout inequality? Although same-day registration (SDR) has been shown to have modest effects, data limitations have prevented us from understanding the true effects of these laws, especially on political participation of the poor. Previous research has not used large sample population data to study voting decisions over time and it does not measure the impact of multiple state voting laws simultaneously; overall election system features that include the laws and administration are have also been overlooked. A policy feedback approach is used to develop the concept of state “accessible voting systems.” This concept is proxied by historical turnout, election performance (Pew), and combinations of voting laws. Very large sample survey and population data (2016 Catalist, and 2006-2014 CCES) with millions of individuals are merged with state level data. Panel data and statistical matching (CEM) are used to develop improved models. Results show early voting, largely dismissed in the literature, increases turnout in midterm elections, and even participation by the poor. No-excuse and absentee voting also helps convert the poor into voters in presidential elections. SDR has the greatest effect in increasing overall turnout and the turnout of the poor in midterm and presidential elections. Overall election administration system features matter independently, increasing participation. The study finds state accessible voting laws have benefits for American democracy.
Desmond D. Wallace, American Politics, Methods, Political Methodology
Dissertation Title: The Diffusion of Representation
An important feature of a democratic society is the notion that the actions and decisions of elected representatives reflect their constituents’ preferences. Existing research identifies multiple ways an elected official “represents” the opinions of the public. For example, some elected officials represent their constituents’ preferences absent their personal beliefs and opinions, while other representatives choose to make decisions based on their beliefs absent the views of their constituents. Despite the proliferation in political representation research, one area that has received little attention from scholars is whether the actions of elected officials and their constituents have an influence on how representative elected officials in other jurisdictions are of their constituents. The failure to capture the non-independent features of representation leads to scholars not understanding fully the opinion-policy relationship between politicians and the public.
The goal of this project is to examine the role elected leaders’ actions, individually and collectively, have regarding the relationship elected leaders in other jurisdictions have with their constituents. Using advanced methodological approaches, I investigate whether elected officials’ actions in one jurisdiction influence the representation relationship between contemporary elected officials and their constituents in other jurisdictions and whether this influence is positive or negative. For this project, I focus exclusively on the policy-related actions of elected officials and the policy preferences of constituents. The advanced methodological techniques I utilize allow me to model the actions of an individual politician, or an entire government, as dependent on the actions of their neighbors. I find that accounting for the interdependence among representatives is crucial for understanding political representation.