Gregory Smith Wins Presidential Fellowship

May 17, 2019
Greg Smith Headshot

Gregory Smith, Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science, has been awarded a Presidential Fellowship which is the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School. Fellows are nominated by graduate studies committee chairs and selected through a university-wide competition led by a faculty committee. The title of Smith's dissertation is Attenuation, Stasis, or Amplification: A Framework for Change in Causal Relationships and his committee is comprised of Political Science faculty Christopher Gelpi (Chair), Alexander Wendt, Bear Braumoeller, Randy Schweller and William Minozzi. More inforamtion about Smith can be found on his website and an abstract of his dissertaion is below.

Abstract: My dissertation studies how the causal effect of foreign policy tools—particularly those that are designed to coerce or compel opponents—change over time. In contrast to the existing literature, which typically assumes causal relationships remain constant, I demonstrate that the effects of coercive policies are dynamic and change in response to a variety of contextual factors. Moreover, the results indicate that the effect of coercive policy tools tends to attenuate and grow less effective over time as targets adapt and/or change their behavior. These findings indicate that U.S. policymakers commonly misuse a wide array of foreign policy tools and in the most extreme cases, implement policies that are counterproductive to U.S. interests.