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Jane Esberg

Jane Esberg

Ph.D. Candidate


Jane is a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow and a Dissertation Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences. She studies repression and political violence, with a focus on historical dictatorships in Latin America and Spain.

Her book-style dissertation asks how dictators' need for popular support influences the practice of repression. Using original micro-data on multiple repressive behaviors during Chile's military government (1973-1989), she demonstrates that repression serves not just to eliminate opposition, but to appeal to supporters. Violence and censorship can be used to demonstrate the efficacy of authoritarian governance -- and the inadequacy of democratic rule of law -- in managing perceived social and political threats to dictators' backing coalitions. However, this relies on supporters viewing repression as a proportionate response. Original data on political killings, detention, exile, search and seizure, and pop culture censorship in Chile provide evidence that the anticipated responses of supporters significantly shaped patterns of repression.

Jane's research has been funded by a Graduate Research Opportunities Award, the Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford's Center on International Security and Cooperation, the Stanford Center for International Conflict and Negotiation, the Europe Center, and the Center for Ethics in Society. She holds a BA in International Relations from Stanford (with honors, phi beta kappa) and previously worked at the NYU Center on International Cooperation.