American Politics PhD Job Candidates
2016 - 2017
- Dissertation Title: Crafting a Broad Appeal: Congressional Audiences and Policy Collaboration in the Modern Legislature
- Committee: Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier (chair), Skyler Cranmer, Michael Neblo, and Herbert Weisberg
- Summary: Congress is increasingly polarized with historically low public approval ratings, yet members continue to attempt the day-to-day work of passing legislation on behalf of their key constituencies. I argue that overcoming the constraints of the contemporary Congress requires members to balance the expectations of six distinctive, yet overlapping audiences: voters, colleagues, the party, contributors, interest groups, and the media. My dissertation, supported by the National Science Foundation, applies advanced quantitative network and text analysis to an original dataset of over 110,000 Dear Colleague letters sent between members of Congress to shed new light on how legislators engage in collaborative strategies to appeal to these audiences and achieve success in the modern legislature.
-Recipient of a National Science Foundation Political Science grant ($306,515) with Janet Box-Steffensmeier and Dino Christenson (2016-2018)
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (2014-2017)
- Recipient of a Center for the Study of Democracy Research Award ($11,827) with Janet Box-Steffensmeier and Dino Christenson (2013)
- Recipient of a Dirksen Center Congressional Award ($3,500) with Janet Box-Steffensmeier and Dino Christenson (2013)
- Eleven years of professional experience as congressional staff
- Dissertation Title: The Conditional Nature of Public Responsiveness to Deception by Political Elites
- Committee: Thomas Nelson (chair), Michael Neblo, Nathaniel Swigger
- Summary: How do members of the public respond to being lied to by their elected leaders? I use a variety of methods, including original experimental data, to argue both that the current models of public response to deception are inadequate, and that the public's lack of faith in politicians may be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
-Dissertation research funded by a grant from the Decision Sciences Collaborative.
-Under Review: "The Smokescreen Effect: Expectancy Violations and Public Reaction to Accusations of Political Deception." The Journal of Political Science.
- Dissertation Title: Social Influence on Politics: Development, Selection, and Strengthening
- Committee: Paul A. Beck (co-chair), Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier (co-chair), Kathleen M. McGraw, and Michael A. Neblo
- Summary: I am interested in understanding the social component of individual political beliefs. My dissertation, supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), includes three unique, yet complementary studies, each of which shed light on how social networks impact individual beliefs about politics; specifically, if networks influence change in issue opinions, candidate preferences, and partisanship over time. By accounting for how and why individuals select into social contexts, I begin to address how networks influence individual political outcomes utilizing whole-network, longitudinal, and experimental data.
- I teach the department’s Introduction to American Politics (POLITSC 1100) on-line class where I aim to inspire students to engage in American politics with knowledge and civility.
-Recipient of the Decision, Risk, and Management Sciences Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG) from the National Science Foundation ($28,644)
-Published in inaugural Oxford Handbook of Political Networks (forthcoming in 2016)
Comparative Politics PhD Job Candidates
2016 - 2017
- Dissertation Title: "Challenging Democracy: The Extension of Presidential Term Limits from a Citizen’s Perspective”
- Committee: Sarah Brooks (co-chair); Irfan Nooruddin (co-chair); Amanda Robinson and Tom Nelson
- Summary: My dissertation explores the psychological underpinnings of democracy in the context of the degradation of democratic institutions, focusing specifically on the erosion of presidential term limits in Latin America. It demonstrates that a conceptualization of democracy is informed by economic evaluations, social identity, and an interaction between the two. This is demonstrated through field research in Bolivia, an extensive analysis of existing public opinion surveys, and two unique survey experiments.
- Noteworthy: Awarded the Charles and Kathleen Manatt Fellowship. Dissertation research funded by the Mershon Center for International Security and the Tinker Field Research Grant.
- Dissertation Title: “The Rise of Hegemonic Party Rule: The Case of Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey”.
- Committee: Anthony Mughan (chair), Richard Gunther, and Jeremy Wallace.
- Summary: Today, many states around the globe suffer from the decline of democracy. What leads to the decay of democracy and the rise of hegemonic parties that compete in multi-party settings yet rule in (semi)-authoritarian conditions? My dissertation aims to address these questions by examining numerous cases of hegemonic party rule throughout the world, mainly focusing on the case of Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey. Incorporating individual, local, national, and international levels of analyses and combining quantitative and qualitative techniques, including quantitative simulations and regressions, semi-structured interviews with political elites, surveys, I intend to offer a novel theory on the rise of hegemonic party rule.
- Noteworthy: SSCI Publications in Democratization, Political Studies, Contemporary Politics, Mediterranean Politics, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, and Turkish Studies; Recipient of several awards and fellowships, including the European Union Marie Curie Fellowship (€ 157,846), Sakip Sabanci International Research Award, the Ohio State University’s Distinguished University Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship toward a Master’s degree in Economics at New York University (NYU).
- Dissertation Title: "Legalized Rent-Seeking: How Dictators Use Formal Institutions to Manage Informal Practices"
- Committee: Marcus Kurtz (chair), Pauline Jones Luong (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Irfan Nooruddin (now at Georgetown University), Morgan Liu
- Summary: In an authoritarian regime where the rule of law is weak and informal institutions carry more weight, why would the regime and citizens alike invest in law and courts, especially in disputes with one another? I find that formal legal institutions help the autocrat manage subordinates' rent-seeking and maintain stability, while for citizens, courts provide a chance at improving their status quo vis-à-vis powerful local officials. My dissertation draws on data from two original surveys, detailed court case records, and 14 months of qualitative fieldwork in Kazakhstan.
- Noteworthy: Dissertation fieldwork was supported by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, Social Science Research Council (SSRC) International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Individual Advanced Research Opportunities (IARO) Title VIII Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the Ohio State University Office of International Affairs, and the Mershon Center for Security Studies.
- Dissertation Title: "Mandating Security: How UN Peacekeeping Protects Civilians in Civil Conflict Zones"
- Committee: Irfan Nooruddin (co-chair), Alexander Thompson (co-chair), Jan Pierskalla, and Christopher Gelpi
- Summary: My areas of interest include peacebuilding, political violence, state formation, and development. In my dissertation, I study the complex relationship between UN peacekeeping efforts and the use of political violence against civilians by governments and armed non-governmental groups. I emphasize the importance of UN mission mandates, or the tasks assigned to peacekeeping missions by the Security Council. I argue that different mandates produce very different missions, some of which will be better than others at reducing the risk of political violence. To do this, I use a variety of methods, including statistical analysis and in-depth case studies, which I support with original disaggregated data on UN peacekeeping missions, interviews with UN policy-makers, and archival research in the collections of several international organizations, both intergovernmental and nongovernmental.
Noteworthy: Publication in the European Journal of Political Research (2014) with co-author Matt Golder; recipient of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies Student Research Grant in 2015 and 2014, the Department of Political Science Graduate Student Grant in 2014, and the Ohio State University Fellowship in 2011.
- Dissertation title: Safety in Numbers: Group Linkages and the Persistence of Party Switching
- Committee: Anthony Mughan (Chair); Goldie Shabad; Sara Watson; Thomas Nelson
- Summary: Party switching, or changing one’s political party affiliation, is a surprisingly widespread and persistent phenomenon among members of parliament (MPs) in old and new democracies alike, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. This may signal a lack of accountability and representation to voters, fuel instability, or undermine democracy itself. Why do some MPs risk careers, prestige, and chances of reelection for uncertain payoffs? Contrary to conventional wisdom, I find that this is a group-based event rather than a purely individual phenomenon, and I argue that MPs’ group associations significantly shape these decisions. I draw evidence from interviews with Polish and Czech MPs and test my arguments using legislative and biographical data in these countries since their transitions to democracy
-Substantive research areas: Comparative Politics, Political Psychology, Political Parties, Legislative Behaviour, Central and Eastern Europe, European Union
-Publications: Tunkis, Peter J. (2016). “The Ties that Bind: Do Group Associations among Legislators Matter for Political Parties?” Problems of Post-Communism.
-Awards: Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (2014-2014); Polish Studies Initiative Graduate Student Research Grant (2014); Uprka-Laga-Schweitzer Award in Czech Studies (2012)
-Positions held: Visiting Fulbright-Hays Fellow, Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences (2015); Visiting Fulbright-Hays Fellow, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences (2015); Research Assistant, CDU/CSU Fraktion im Deutschen Bundestag, Berlin, Germany (2008)
-Languages: English, Polish, Czech, French, German
International Relations PhD Job Candidates
2016 - 2017
- Dissertation Title: “Perception and Misperception in Warzones: Civilian Beliefs about Violence and their Consequences in Pakistan, Iraq, and Beyond”
- Committee: Christopher Gelpi (Chair); Richard Herrmann, Jan Pierskalla, and Jacob Shapiro
- Summary: My dissertation examines why civilians in conflict settings often hold widely varying beliefs about the nature of wartime violence – that is, about what is happening in the fighting. I argue that this variation depends on the informational and motivational underpinnings of civilian perceptions in conflict environments. I support this argument with fieldwork interviews, survey experiments, and microlevel conflict data analysis from the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan and the Iraq War.
- Noteworthy: Publication with Mujtaba Isani forthcoming in Political Research Quarterly; research funded by the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) at George Washington University and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland, along with internal OSU grants
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