Past Events

March 12, 2014

Recent investigations (Theriault 2006, 2008; Bonica 2013a) have shown that ideologically moderate members of Congress have moved toward their respective parties’ means over the course of their careers.  Their “ideological migration” has been punctuated (occurring in spurts) and recent (in the last generation).  In this paper, we explain the ideological migration of moderates as a side effect of close partisan competition for control of the US House since 1994.  Competition for the House focused the attention of activists, donors, party leaders, the mass media and, ultimately, voters on the battle for majority status.  This increased attention to partisan competition reduced ind

March 10, 2014

We explore the role of language policy choices as a source of growth and development of nation states. First in a cross-country framework we document that choosing a social a language that is distant from the ones spoken by the local population is negatively correlated with the level of income per capita. This effect is economically meaningful and robust to a wide variety of controls such as institutional quality, geography, ethno-linguistic fractionalization and natural resources. To help interpret the cross-country results, we identify theoretically two channels: (a) the individual's exposure to and (b) the individual's mother tongue's distance from the social language.

March 7, 2014




Stephen Krasner is the Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Studies, the Senior Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, School of Humanities & Sciences, and the deputy director of FSI.  A former director of CDDRL, Krasner is also an FSI senior fellow, and a fellow of the Hoover Institution.

From February 2005 to April 2007 he served as the Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department. While at the State Department, Krasner was a driving force behind foreign assistance reform designed to more effectively target American foreign aid. He was also involved in activities related to the promotion of good governance and democratic institutions around the world.

March 5, 2014

We introduce a newly collected data set that captures the ideological preferences of nearly 400,000 American lawyers and judges who have made campaign contributions in recent decades. We use this data set to address two interrelated questions. First, we examine the overall ideological distribution of American attorneys, finding that the legal profession tilts to the ideological left – even when compared to other similarly educated professions. Second, we examine those individuals who are, or later went on to become, state or federal judges. We find that the ideological distribution of U.S. judges does not reflect the left-leaning distribution of lawyers, instead closely resembling the bimodal ideological distributions found among other (elected) branches of government.

March 3, 2014

Why are there strong geographic patterns in the distribution of per capita GDP, democracy and autocracy, and human capital around the world? Why do these geographic patterns overlap?

The answer is that basic geographic features of regions exerted a powerful impact on societies’ fundamental institutions, and those institutions then sent those societies down quite different paths of economic and political development.

February 28, 2014



Christopher Kutz joined the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program at Boalt Hall in 1998. He clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and was a visiting professor at Columbia and Stanford law schools.

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.