Past Events

February 28, 2014

Emilie Hafner-Burton is a professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies and director of the School’s new Laboratory on International Law and Regulation.  Looking across a wide array of issues from environment and energy to human rights, trade and security, the Laboratory explores when (and why) international laws actually work.

February 26, 2014

Since the work of Campbell (1960), much political science research has assumed that (1) that voters have consistent rank-order interest in elections and (2) an individual's likelihood of voting is a persistent latent trait. Using turnout panel data on 2 million American voters from 1996 and 2012, this paper provides the most systematic examination to date of “concentric circle” models of turnout. We derive an Item Response Theory estimator for the concentric circle model of voting and then apply it to the strict Campbell model, as well as extensions that test whether claims (1) and (2) hold.

February 24, 2014

The Treaty of Lisbon reformed the budgetary procedure of the European Union (EU). This paper describes the key changes and presents a game-theoretical analysis of the annual budgetary procedure. Our focus is on the implications of these changes for the budgetary powers of the European Parliament (EP). Against the common belief that the budgetary powers of the EP were strengthened as a result of the Lisbon Treaty, our analysis paints a somewhat more sober assessment of its budgetary empowerment as a result of the reform. We find that the budgetary procedure operates much like the ordinary legislative procedure. However, unlike in the ordinary legislative procedure, there is a real risk of failure to agree.

February 21, 2014





Melissa Lee is a PhD candidate studying international relations and comparative politics. Her dissertation seeks to explain why some developing states have been successful at closing domestic sovereignty gaps while other states remain unable to exercise authority over some or all parts of their territory. She is a former researcher with the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy, and Security. She holds a Graduate Research Fellowship with the National Science Foundation and a Global Underdevelopment Action Grant from the Freeman Spogli Institute.

February 19, 2014

Political elites have increasingly moved to the ideological extremes. But the public at large is still mostly moderate. Thus, rank and file partisans today are ideologically distant not only from the leaders of the opposing party, but also from the leaders of their own party. Still, partisans continue to feel warmly toward the party they identify with, and (as we show) its leaders. What explains this continued warmth? We find that distorted perceptions of party and party leaders' positions and a partisan accounting of known differences on policy are partly responsible. Partisans perceive their own parties to be ideologically proximate to them.

February 14, 2014






Ingrid Robeyns is a philosopher and economist by training, currently working as a professor of Practical Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Robeyns is also the Director of the Dutch Research School for Philosophy (OZSW) and the Chair of the OZSW-chamber Ethics/Practical Philosophy. As of March 1st, 2014, she will be leaving the Erasmus University and handing over the directorship of the OZSW in order to take up the Chair ‘Ethics of Institutions’ at Utrecht University.

February 14, 2014



Michaela Mattes specializes in International Relations. Her research focuses on security institutions, in particular conflict management agreements and military alliances. She is interested in questions such as whether these agreements can constrain the behavior of international and domestic actors, through which mechanisms they work and under which conditions, and why they are designed the way they are. She has published articles in American Journal of Political Science, International Organization, Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, and Conflict Management and Peace Science. She has also been involved in a large data collection effort on changes in leaders supporting coalitions funded by the NSF.


February 12, 2014
One common explanation for the divergence between what members of Congress do and what the public as a whole would prefer is the extreme preferences of the citizens who participate in primary elections. If candidates must appeal both to a primary electorate with far-from-center policy preferences and a general electorate with more moderate policy preferences, candidates may diverge from the policies they would support if they only had to win the general election. Despite the appeal of this argument, most empirical evidence on the effects of primaries finds small to no effects.
February 10, 2014

It is almost too obvious to state, but access to public services and the nature of governance varies hugely within countries, regions and cities. Nevertheless, most comparative work on the “quality of government”, rule of law, corruption, etc. focuses on between-country comparisons. After providing some evidence that within-country variation belies any notion of a national “quality of government”, I lay out a framework for explaining why governance and service outcomes vary so much across localities. I explore the usefulness of the framework by providing evidence from three ongoing projects. The first relies on a pair of surveys designed to examine the role of slum-level social and political networks in conditioning access to basic public services in Udaipur, India.