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Robert Barlow

PhD Candidate

Thomas Brambor

PhD Graduate

Thomas Brambor received his PhD from Stanford in 2012 and specializes in Comparative Politics and Statistical Methodology. He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the ERC-funded project "The Reform Capacity of Governments" (www.reformcapacity.org) at Lund University in Sweden. In his dissertation, Thomas analyzes whether and how the sources of revenues of a state are connected to the behavior of its political actors. In it, he subjected our well-trodden theoretical understanding of the relationship between taxation and representative government to several innovative empirical analyses at the cross-national and sub-national level to create a better understanding of the causal connection between these concepts.

As a post-doctoral fellow at Lund University he has expanded this research into historical public finance and the origins of fiscal capacity by collecting and analyzing new historical data on central government revenues of countries in Europe, North America, Oceania, and Latin America. His other research areas include regime transitions and historical trends in political ideology, land reforms in Brazil, the effect of natural resources on political institutions, and the subnational finances of Germany and Brazil.

Lucila Figueroa

PhD Candidate

Lucila Figueroa is a PhD candidate with an interest in American Politics and Comparative Politics.  Her dissertation, utilizing survey data and laboratory experiments, explores the effect that cultural norms in the United States have upon public opinion of the non-Hispanic white population toward Latinos living in the United States and upon opinions toward immigrant-related policies.  Lucila has also investigated the effects that norms have upon public opinion toward immigration policy in the Netherlands and Denmark, though she plans to focus on the American context in future research.  Lucila has spent the last few summers mentoring undergraduate students as a TA. in the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity's (CSRE) Public Policy Institute (PPI).  The program is aimed at providing information to students interested in public policy issues pertaining to race and ethnicity in the United States.  Additionally, Lucila worked with the American National Election Studies (ANES), a project that produces data on voting, public opinion, and political participation.  Finally, Lucila is a Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellow. 

Rachel Gillum

PhD Candidate

Rachel Gillum is a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University, where she specializes in American Politics and International Relations.  Her dissertation examines Muslim American political and social integration using large-n survey and experimental methods, as well as ethnographic interviews of Muslim communities and elites around the United States. Rachel also has written several papers on public opinion in the Islamic world, focusing in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Since early 2010, Rachel has served as the Chief Editor and lead research assistant for Dr. Martha Crenshaw's "Mapping Militant Organizations" project, which traces the evolution of militant organizations and the interactions that develop between them over time.


Mackenzie Israel-Trummel

PhD Candidate

Mackenzie Israel-Trummel is a PhD candidate in American Politics whose research interests include race, gender, political identity and behavior. Her dissertation project uses intersectionality as an analytical framework to understand three puzzles related to political attitudes and behavior. Her first paper examines how candidates' race and gender operate individually and jointly to influence voter support, and in particular how Black women candidates fare under conditions of racial threat. Her second project explores how gender conditions linked fate for Black Americans, and finds that beliefs about gender discrimination affect Black women's sense of racial linked fate. Her last paper tests the possibilities for cross-racial voting coalitions among Latino voters, and explores how discrimination can promote co-minority cooperation.

Mackenzie is involved with a variety of other research projects both within and outside the American politics subfield, including how partisans vote when their issue preferences don't match their party's policy platform, how gender shapes attitudes toward trade policy, the consequences of wartime rape, and the political effects of felon disenfranchisement. Her works employs analysis of existing cross-national and survey data as well as experimental methods. Her work is supported by the Graduate Research Opportunity at Stanford University and the Laboratory for the Study of American Values.


Dorothy Kronick

PhD Candidate

Dorothy Kronick is a PhD candidate whose general research interests include comparative political economy, comparative political behavior, Latin American politics, Venezuelan politics, and quantitative methods. Her dissertation focuses on the electoral politics of violent crime in Latin America.

Melissa Lee

PhD Candidate

Melissa Lee is a Ph.D. candidate in political science and a 2014-2015 Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

Her research interests bridge the subfields of international relations and comparative politics, and include the international causes and consequences of state weakness, statebuilding, conflict and security, and the effects of external actors on domestic processes. Her dissertation explains why some developing countries have faced persistent challenges in projecting power and authority to their peripheries, and argues that hostile neighboring states can subvert or deter the exercise of domestic authority in their neighbors. She employs a variety of methods in her research, including medium-n statistical methods, quasi-experimental techniques, geospatial analysis, archival research, and field interviews.

Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Freeman Spogli Institute, and other research centers at Stanford University. She is a former research consultant for the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy, and Security.

Carrie Lee Lindsay

PhD Candidate

Carrie Lee Lindsay is a PhD Candidate in International Relations and Comparative Politics.  Her dissertation evaluates the effect of domestic politics on military operations at war, specifically asking how politicians in democratic states alter the timing and objectives of military missions in the lead-up to an election.   She uses both qualitative and quantitative evidence from multiple countries during World War II, Vietnam, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to argue that domestic political incentives alter the way military doctrine is implemented on the battlefield as politicians campaign for reelection. Other work has focused on the role of reconstruction and troop concentration in reducing violence during counterinsurgency campaigns and the role of technology in accelerating regime collapse during the Arab Spring.

Colin McCubbins

PhD Candidate

Colin McCubbins is a PhD candidate focusing on American politics and political institutions.

Kennedy Opalo

PhD Candidate

Ken is a PhD candidate; his research interests include legislative development in Africa, the political economy of development, regional cooperation and trade in Africa, and elections and governance. In 2012-2013 Ken will be the Susan Ford Dorsey Fellow affiliated with the Center for African Studies.

Melina Platas Izama

PhD Candidate

Melina Platas Izama is a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University, specializing in Comparative Politics. Her dissertation explores inequalities in educational attainment between Christians and Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa from the colonial period to the present, and explains why Muslim disadvantage in the formal education sector has disappeared in parts of Africa while persisting in others.  Her research examines how institutions, beliefs, and policy affect access and attitudes toward education over time and space. She has conducted fieldwork in Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, and Malawi for her dissertation, and has experience in South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, and Burkina Faso. Melina’s broader research interests include the politics of the provision of health care and education in Africa.

She is currently an affiliate at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR), based in Kampala, Uganda. She is a consultant for Ugandan research institutes and non-governmental organizations working in the health and education sectors, and a member of a research team evaluating a multi-year USAID project in Uganda.

Lauren Prather

PhD Candidate

Lauren Prather is a Ph.D. candidate conducting research in the fields of international relations and comparative politics. Her work examines public opinion and individual behaviors related to international redistribution. It contributes to a growing literature in international political economy on foreign aid, remittance behavior, and private philanthropy to international causes. She uses a variety of methods including experiments to understand the motivations of states and individuals to provide economic assistance across national borders. 

Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and the Europe Center. Before coming to Stanford, Lauren graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in French and Political Science. After graduating, she was an ESL instructor in France, and worked as a legal assistant and interpreter at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago.

Lucas Puente

PhD Candidate

Lucas Puente is a PhD candidate and recipient of the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship. He is also a Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Fellow. He is interested in political economy and political institutions.  

His dissertation investigates the ways in which political dynamics influence decision-making at central banks, particularly following financial crises. He focuses on the Panic of 1907, the Great Depression and the recent global financial crisis. He addresses this question by looking at the different mechanisms through which political influence occurs. He devotes a chapter to examining this topic in each of the following contexts: the (pre-WWII) evolution of the structure of the Federal Reserve, the preferences of monetary policy makers around elections (post-1988), the Federal Reserve's lending during the 2008 financial crisis, and the international coordination of monetary policy during the global crisis between 2008 and 2010. Through this series of papers, he finds that politicians designed the American central bank -- just as their counterparts did elsewhere -- in such a way that political considerations are able to consistently affect monetary policy makers. However, this influence is intentionally constrained to ensure its stability, as too much would lead to a new equilibrium in which the central bank is more apolitical.

Sungmin Rho

PhD Candidate

Sungmin Rho is a PhD candidate focusing on Chinese politics and international relations. Her dissertation, titled The Workers' Dilemma: Factory Workers and Collective Action in China, focuses on protest behavior of migrant factory workers and its implications on political instability in China. Her research identifies firm-level variables, such as firm ownership, size, and production of international brands, that determine patterns of labor protests and demonstrates that labor protests reflect the broader political context of a factory's surrounding environment. By applying collective action theories, she argues that it is important to understand the role of workers' heterogeneity in interests and resources in order to better appreciate how labor protests emerge. Potential strike initiators with higher levels of resources utilize their knowledge about the relationship between their firm, local state authorities, media, and the public, to gauge the chance of success and mobilize other participants. Her study also sheds a light on the influence of international actors such as foreign customers and international media over workers' protest behavior. She argues that the community of migrant workers could pose a threat to the Chinese regime's political stability in the future, since migrant workers' experiences as a member of the deprived community induce unfavorable attitudes toward the society and, in turn, the central government. The Chinese regime's strategy to transfer migrant workers' political grievances into economic ones and to contain those grievances within an individual firm might prove unsustainable in the long run.


Arjun Wilkins

PhD Candidate

Arjun Wilkins is a PhD candidate (degree expected June 2014), whose areas of interest include congressional elections, political partisanship, and quantitative methodology. His dissertation examines how changing party identification and political institutions have contributed to heightened competition for congressional majorities and how the electoral connection between members of Congress and their constituents has changed in the present era of rising polarization. His research makes use of extensive datasets he has assembled on congressional elections and individual level survey responses from the Gallup organization.