The Department of Political Science is pleased to announce summer research positions for undergraduates. Participants will work directly with a faculty mentor for ten weeks and receive a $6,000 stipend. The program, which is part of the Summer Research College, is designed to foster close intellectual exchange by involving students in the ongoing research of Stanford professors. Applications are due February 22.
Eligibility: Participants must be current undergraduates at Stanford. Co-term students and seniors are eligible only if the bachelor’s degree will not be conferred before the end of the research appointment.
Expectations: Students will be expected to work 40 hours per week during the program. The program will run from June 24 through August 30, 2013. Students and faculty will present their collaborative research in a departmental colloquium.
Stipend: Each student will receive a stipend of $6,000 for ten weeks of full-time research work.
Restrictions: VPUE policy prohibits students from receiving both credit and pay for the same research activity. Students receiving full summer stipends may not register for more than 5 credits of coursework.
Housing: (For students who want to apply for on-campus summer housing) Room, board, house dues, and other academic expenses are paid by the student. Students are responsible for paying their university summer bill, which will include any other academic expenses incurred. Students may review the summer room and board rates on the Housing Assignment Services website.
How to Apply: Download the preference form and use it to express your preference regarding faculty mentors and research projects. Please email the preference form, cover letters, resume, and unofficial transcript to paigeer [at] stanford [dot] edu (subject: Summer%20Research%20College) (Paige Ryan). If your application is approved, someone will contact you to set up an interview.
The department is only accepting applications via email.
Please submit applications via email to paigeer [at] stanford [dot] edu (subject: Summer%20Research%20College) .
Deadline: Friday, February 22 (students are encouraged to apply early)
Questions? Contact Paige Ryan, Political Science, Encina Hall West Room 100, phone 723-1908, email paigeer [at] stanford [dot] edu (subject: Summer%20Research%20College) .
2013 Summer Projects:
Click project title for more information about the project
|Faculty Member||Project Title|
|Lisa Blaydes||Understanding Arab Autocracy|
|Gary Cox||The Constitutional History of Fiscal Autocracy|
|Lauren Davenport||Politics Between Black and White: The Racial Identity and Political Attitudes of Multiracial Americans|
|James Fearon and David Laitin||The Rise and Fall of Empires: Civil and "Small" Wars from 1816 to 1945|
|Judy Goldstein||Regulating Trade and Investment|
|Justin Grimmer||Going Public: When and How Presidents Mobilize Public Opinion|
|Steve Haber||Geography, Politics, and the Extent of Markets|
|Shanto Iyengar||Merging Census and Survey Data on Immigration|
|Simon Jackman||The Quality of Internet Surveys|
|Karen Jusko||Who Speaks for the Poor?|
|Jon Krosnick||The Psychology of Americans' Political Decisions|
|Phillip Lipscy||The Politics of Energy|
|Neil Malhotra with Benoit Monin and Michael Tomz||Is Corporate Environmentalism Profitable? Experimental Investigations of the Effects of Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility on Consumption, Employment, and Political Activity|
|Terry Moe with Sarah Anzia||The Power of Public Sector Unions|
|Clayton Nall||The Distributive Politics of American Transportation: A Geospatial Approach|
|Michael Tomz||Political Campaigns and Policy Debates|
|Jonathan Wand||Legislative Battles and Pork Barrel Politics|
|Jeremy Weinstein||Tying Politicians’ Hands: When Does it Happen and Why?|
Understanding Arab Autocracy
Professor Lisa Blaydes
Political scientists specializing in the Arab world have long been puzzled by the failure of countries in the region to make the transition from authoritarian to democratic government. While some have pointed to the democracy-hindering byproducts of oil wealth, others have focused on the effects of Islam and Arab culture generally, and the subordination of women in Islamic society more specifically. This project investigates explanations for the Arab democracy deficit using micro-level data from the Arab world. The project will focus on institutional sources of autocratic stability.
The research assistant will compile databases from historical records and research case studies of Arab autocracies. Arabic language skills and familiarity with GIS are a plus but not required.
The Constitutional History of Fiscal Autocracy
Professor Gary Cox
This project will study how EFRs (executive-favoring budgetary reversions) can be limited, in order to be compatible with democracy—as in, for example, Germany and South Korea; and how they can be beefed up, in order to consolidate dictatorship, as in, for example, Mussolini’s Italy, Marcos’ Philippines or Chávez’s Venezuela.
I seek summer RAs to (1) compile a database from historical constitutions, coding a specific set of variables for which a codebook already exists; and (2) conduct research into the constitutional histories of selected countries. Knowledge of Spanish or French would be useful but is not essential.
Politics Between Black and White: The Racial Identity and Political Attitudes of Multiracial Americans
Professor Lauren Davenport
Today, than 9 million Americans identify with multiple races, and it is estimated that 20 percent of the population will identify this way by 2050. What does the growth of the American multiracial population mean, politically, for minority communities and the broader American racial landscape? How do historical and socioeconomic processes influence racial identification for individuals of mixed-racial backgrounds?
This project seeks to answer these questions. We will conduct and analyze interviews with mixed-race individuals to uncover how lived experiences shape political identities. We will also assess the relationship between demographic disparities in interracial marriage rates and the development of political group consciousness across multiracial subgroups. Finally, we will develop a survey experiment that measures whether and to what extent multiracials’ identification is shaped by materialist incentives, such as affirmative action policies.
Students must be well-versed in the American racial and ethnic politics literature and should have some experience with qualitative and/or quantitative methods. Experience with either STATA or R are strongly desired. Students will also need to gain CITI certification prior to beginning the project.
The Rise and Fall of Empires: Civil and "Small" Wars from 1816 to 1945
Professor James Fearon and David Laitin
The last 15 years have seen an explosion of cross-national research on civil war. Researchers have focused overwhelmingly on civil war around the world since 1945 -- most data sets and studies begin at that point, or later. A few data sets and studies have tried to take a longer historical perspective, but the quality of the basic civil war lists available for before 1945 is not high, and there are also problems of comparability with civil war lists from for post-1945. Last summer we worked with two SRC students to develop a defensible coding of civil wars from 1816 to 1945, and this enabled us to ask questions about whether the broad patterns established for post-World War II civil conflicts also obtain in earlier years. This summer (2013) our SRC students would continue this coding work, combining statistical and historical research by writing narratives on the triggers that induced onset as well as events that enabled war termination.
No special training is required for students, but students should have a keen interest in what history can teach us about the present, and a curiosity as to whether there are broad historical patterns that can be illuminated through statistical analysis. We expect students to work 40 hours per week over a ten week period in which they will be collecting historical information about civil wars from 1815 to 1944 according to coding rules that they will be trained to apply.
Regulating Trade and Investment
Professor Judy Goldstein
In order to understand how the expansion of production around the globe influences trade treaties, this project examines preferential trade treaties and their legal provisions on foreign direct investment, health and safety and environmental regulation. The question we ask is whether or not and to what degree domestic leaders incorporate the interests of domestic as opposed to foreign firms in setting production and labor laws.
The research assistant will contribute both to the identification of important international treaties and to the interpretation of treaty text. The researcher will gain insight both into modern political science research methods as well as the interplay between international law, multinational production, and political interactions between the developed and developing world.
Going Public: When and How Presidents Mobilize Public Opinion
Professor Justin Grimmer
A voluminous literature has considered the conditions under which presidents can effectively mobilize public opinion by "Going Public"---appealing to the public to achieve legislative goals. This project will combine original data collection, careful observational research design, and experimental manipulations to understand the effects of going public. The student research collaborator will document the history of a particular kind of going public and help identify survey results. If interested, the student collaborator can learn more about designing experiments and analyzing "big" collections of text data.
Geography, Politics, and the Extent of Markets
Professor Steve Haber
Everyone knows that life isn’t fair, and the distribution of political and economic outcomes across countries is no exception to this general rule: a host of good outcomes (high GDP, high human capital, high urbanization, stable democracy) seem to cluster together; while a host of bad outcomes (low GDP, low human capital, autocracy) also cluster together. The idea that one of these outcomes determines the others—say that democracy causes economic growth—turns not to stand up to the evidence. Rather, the evidence suggests that these clustered phenomena have moved together for the past several hundred years. The implication is that they are all jointly determined by some other, unobserved, characteristic. This project is about identifying that characteristic.
Students engaged in this project will work with myself and with a post-doc who is an expert at GIS. Students will, in particular, be involved in building the datasets about river navigability using pre-steamship technology. In order to do so, they will use historical sources as well as google maps.
Merging Census and Survey Data on Immigration
Professor Shanto Iyengar
Prof. Shanto Iyengar hopes to hire a student to help with ongoing cross-national research into the antecedents of public attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy. The student will be responsible for merging U.S., U.K., and Canadian census data on size and composition of the immigrant population, ethnic diversity, and other socio-demographic characteristics with already collected opinion data in these nations that includes geographic markers for survey respondents (typically zipcode or postcode). Census data are typically compiled at the level of a census statistical tract and the purpose of this project is to match the tract data to data at the level of zipcode/postcode. This will permit testing of hypotheses concerning the effects of individuals’ frequency of contact with immigrants on support or opposition to increased immigration. In the U.S, the USPS and HUD have developed a set of “crosswalk” files to link zipcode with county or tract data making it possible to merge the census indicators with our individual-level survey data. We are investigating the availability of a similar application in Canada and the U.K.
The successful applicant will have some background in quantitative, social science research. At least some familiarity with database management and data analysis packages (Stata, R etc.) is desirable.
The Quality of Internet Surveys
Professor Simon Jackman
Surveys continue to be a key data source for social science research; much of what we know about American’s political attitudes and behaviors comes to us via survey research. But survey research stands at a crossroads. Participation rates are falling. Costs are rising. Phone surveys are no longer a cheap, fast, valid alternative to in-person interviewing. In response to these challenges, many researchers have turned to surveying over the Internet. Indeed, for over a decade, Stanford has been “ground zero” for building expertise in surveying over the Internet.
But many open questions remain. How representative are Internet samples? What are the sources of bias? How bad is the bias compared to other surveys? Is the bias worth the low cost of Internet surveys relative to other modes? The project will acquire, harmonize and analyze a moderate to large number of surveys (spanning different modes of data collection), comparing their performance on a variety of dimensions — in providing up-to-date, comprehensive answers to these questions. Original data collection is also anticipated, via an off-campus field experiment.
The job will involve acquiring a variety of data sets generated by opinion surveys, recoding and cleaning those data sets to facilitate merging/harmonization, and running some basic statistical analysis. Some previous experience with R or Stata is required; good programming practices and familiarity with collaborative tools (svn, git, etc) would be especially welcome. Statistical expertise would be preferred, but is not essential; similarly, experience with tools for data visualization (R or d3.js) would also be extremely welcome, but not essential.
Who Speaks for the Poor?
Professor Karen Jusko
What sustains two party competition in the U.S.? Why, when parties that represent the preferences and interests of low-income citizens are viable and competitive in most other contemporary democracies, do populist, workers' and social democratic parties remain absent in the U.S.? Using these fundamental puzzles about American party politics as our motivation, we will examine the implications of early electoral geography for the strategic incentives of populist, workers' and social democratic parties.
As part of the research team, a Summer Research College student will continue work already in progress to integrate historical US and European census data into geographic information systems (GIS) maps of historical congressional district boundaries. Then, together, we will develop detailed histories of early workers' and social democratic parties that incorporate the electoral geography of their potential constituencies. The Summer Research College participant will have the opportunity to develop skills in the analysis of spatially structured data, the digitization of historical maps, and data management, more generally.
Interested applicants should demonstrate good organization and library research skills, and should have successfully completed coursework in the Department of Political Science, or in the International Relations program. Although not required, applicants with prior "big" data management, programming, and ArcGIS software experience are especially encouraged to apply for this position.
The Psychology of Americans' Political Decisions
Professor Jon Krosnick
Political psychology is an exciting interdisciplinary enterprise blending psychology with the study of politics. The Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford is a large team of undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, visiting scholars, and staff exploring all these issues to generate academic publications and to write white papers to disseminate research findings to the non-academic community. You would join this group and work closely with Professor Jon Krosnick (Professor of Communication, Political Science, and Psychology).
This summer, the team will be working on a variety of projects. One will explore what the American public thinks about global warming and what they want the federal government to do on the issue. In his inauguration speech in January, 2013, President Obama made a commitment to pursue federal policy to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions by the U.S. He made a similar promise in 2008, but despite efforts to pass major legislation through Congress, the President was unable to generate the needed votes in 2009. His administration will be taking a new approach this year, and our team will be tracking American reactions to the effort and the messages that Americans send to their elected representatives as the process unfolds.
We will also be conducting statistical analysis of survey data and experiments conducted in recent years exploring the forces guiding Americans' views on issues related to climate change. And we will be conducting more general investigations into the forces that inspire some people to vote in national elections while others decline to participate, and the forces that shape voters' candidate choices.
No special background is necessary for an undergrad to join our team, although comfort with mathematical/statistical write-ups and some experience with statistics would help allow you to take on more challenging tasks. This job is just right for students interested in close collaboration with a faculty member and a fun and challenging summer. Students who have statistical skills may be able to conduct original analyses of existing data to write papers for publication.
The Politics of Energy
Professor Phillip Lipscy
The Research Assistant will work with Professor Phillip Lipscy (Political Science) and a research team on a project related to the politics of energy. Some of the questions we seek to answer: 1. What explains the cross-national variation in energy policies across countries?; 2. What political factors shaped nuclear regulation before and after the Fukushima disaster?; 3. How do political institutions encourage or discourage energy conservation?
The primary tasks for the RA are to review and synthesize existing literature and to collect data on measures such as regulations, CO2 emissions, gasoline taxes, fuel subsidies, energy intensity, etc. Any of the following would be helpful but are not required: prior coursework in political science and economics; prior experience with data collection and familiarity with spreadsheet or database programs; foreign language proficiency in Japanese.
Is Corporate Environmentalism Profitable? Experimental Investigations of the Effects of Environmental Corporate Social Responsibility on Consumption, Employment, and Political Activity
Professor Neil Malhotra, with Benoit Monin and Michael Tomz
Firms engage in environmental corporate social responsibility (ECSR) when they go beyond the requirements of current environmental law. In this project, we conduct a series of experiments to study how ECSR affects three types of behavior in the mass public: consumption, employment, and political activity. Our research could have significant consequences for society. If we find that ECSR helps firms increase sales, attract talent, and avert costly regulations, firms may gain confidence that environmentalism makes economic sense even in the absence of government regulation.
We are seeking an undergraduate research assistant to help us explore these questions. As this project is being run by faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, students who are interested in research topics at the intersection of business, economics, and government are especially encouraged to apply. Required skills: Excel, and at least one class in statistics or econometrics. Recommended skills: Familiarity with a statistical software package such as Stata or R. Main responsibilities: Organizing, collecting, and analyzing data; collecting and reviewing the existing literature; designing, conducting, and analyzing experiments.
The Power of Public Sector Unions
Professor Terry Moe, with Sarah Anzia
The division of labor across students will depend on who we hire and what their skills are. One student’s job (and perhaps both) will involve helping us find the kinds of data we are looking for—on, say, pensions or retiree health benefits or state legislation—and then to download the relevant data and create Excel and Stata data sets. The “finding” part will often involve internet searches, but it may also involve calling state, county, or city offices, or perhaps public sector unions or nonprofit research organizations, to track down data. The creation of data sets will involve working with Excel, so it will help if the student is already familiar with it—although Excel is not difficult to learn. The Stata data sets can be generated automatically (via Stat Transfer) from the Excel data sets, so it is not necessary for the student to know Stata in advance of the project. But it would be helpful if the student is good on the computer and a fast learner in picking up new skills. The other student may engage in similar research activities, so computer skills would be very helpful. But this student may well be focusing much more on internet searches that are about the sorts of substantive topics listed above (pensions, etc.)—exploring recent and not-so-recent news stories, reports, and scholarly books and articles, and in general helping us understand what the major issues and developments are and how they have been dealt with in the existing literature.
The Distributive Politics of American Transportation: A Geospatial Approach
Professor Clayton Nall
I am seeking two students to contribute to an ongoing project that examines the distributive politics of transportation projects in the United States in both historical and contemporary perspective. Students will work on two major efforts to better understand how and where transportation projects are built, and to quantify the consequences of these projects for served (and bypassed) communities.
The first of these projects is an effort to assemble, for the first time, a geographic database of the construction and expansion of the US highway system from the 1930s to the present. Students will become geographic information system (GIS) experts as they work on a project to convert historical paper maps from Stanford’s map collection into usable geospatial data that will be used in several research projects. The second project exploits more recent data. We will be using several years of Google Transit data to examine how metropolitan transit systems may exacerbate or mitigate residential racial segregation. Students will do a combination of data collection (in libraries, online, and through phone inquiries) and GIS work on both of these projects.
All students with an interest in the study of urban politics, transportation, geography, or American politics are encouraged to apply. While previous experience with GIS and some coursework math or statistics would be appreciated, students will be provided training in ArcGIS, R, and other project-specific skills.
Political Campaigns and Policy Debates
Professor Michael Tomz
Professor Tomz is assembling a team of students to assist with research about political campaigns. The project focuses on how candidates communicate their policy positions to voters and how voters respond to those messages. For instance, do voters prefer candidates who take precise stands instead of making vague statements? Do voters want candidates to sign pledges, and how do voters react when candidates break pledges or flip-flop on policy issues? Students who participate in this project will engage in three research activities: (1) analyzing the policy positions that U.S. presidential candidates have taken in debates and campaign speeches from the 1940s to the present; (2) analyzing press coverage of recent presidential campaigns; and (3) using data from public opinion polls to study what voters think about the policy positions of candidates. This project is just right for students who are interested in American politics, want to learn about research methods, and enjoy working in teams.
Legislative Battles and Pork Barrel Politics
Professor Jonathan Wand
This project connects federal expenditures to legislative votes, identifying the decisions that determined how much money each Member of Congress can bring home to their districts. The main undertaking is the analysis of public laws, bills, amendments, and legislative votes and the construction of a new database connecting money to legislative actions.
Tying Politicians’ Hands: When Does it Happen and Why?
Professor Jeremy Weinstein
There is a generalized belief among scholars and the development community at large that political institutions matter for economic development, and in particular, that constraining politicians’ ability to manipulate public policies for their own purposes can go a long way in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty. However, we have very little systematic knowledge of why “good governance” emerges in the first place. Why have some developing countries introduced more transparent procurement procedures for public infrastructure projects? Why have some countries shifted toward meritocratic procedures for the hiring, promotion and firing of public sector employees? Why have some countries moved toward welfare systems in which the allocation of welfare benefits is based on an objective measure of household income? Our goal is to shed light on these questions, with the hope that a better understanding of the political dynamics underlying reform will help the development community better identify opportunities for “good governance” reforms, and better appreciate the conditions under which a change in formal rules is likely to be accompanied by a change in how policies are actually designed and implemented.
We are seeking to hire two undergraduate students who will contribute to advance this research project during the summer. Building on work that we have completed with a team of RAs during the year, each student will contribute to the project by: (i) implementing a coding scheme to classify the formal rules that regulate the management of public sector jobs, the allocation of funds across different levels of government, and the procurement of public works, and the implementation of those rules, across a broad range of countries and (ii) conducting in-depth research on a number of carefully selected cases, using primary and secondary sources to evaluate the explanatory power of a number of hypotheses that might explain the emergence of institutional reforms that tie politicians’ hands. Students with an interest in comparative politics – and who enjoy reading primary sources and engaging deeply in historical materials – are encouraged to apply.