How Docket Control Shapes Judicial Behavior

Mark McKenzie and co-authors have an article forthcoming in Journal of Law and Courts, “How docket control shapes judicial behavior: a comparative analysis of the Norwegian and Danish supreme courts.”

Abstract: European courts have responded to increasing caseloads by providing justices or other actors with a higher degree of discretionary docket control. Does docket type—mandatory or discretionary—shape judicial behavior? Using a most similar systems research design regarding tax decisions in the Norwegian and Danish supreme courts, we show that discretionary dockets are associated with higher dissent and reversal rates than mandatory dockets, that low-status litigants have a lower chance of winning under mandatory dockets, and that docket type conditions the effects of justices’ preferences. Our findings have implications for comparative judicial politics and for institutional design.

The Politics of Climate Policy Innovation

Daniel Ryan published “The politics of climate policy innovation: the case of the Argentine carbon tax” in Environmental Politics.

Abstract: This contribution analyzes the policymaking process of the carbon tax in Argentina based on the multiple streams approach (MSA). The study shows how policy entrepreneurs took advantage of a general tax reform bill to promote the idea of a carbon tax. Mainly driven by international emulation and reputational gains concerns, the carbon tax proposal successfully advanced through the government´s internal drafting process of the Tax Reform Bill, however, it faced strong opposition during the legislative decision-making process, which resulted in the adoption of a weaker carbon tax. From a climate politics perspective, the Argentine carbon tax case suggests the political limitations of an over-reliance on international reputation arguments to advance climate policy innovation. In relation to the MSA, the study highlights how policy windows can shape processes of policy innovation and the analytical convenience of differentiating the coupling processes between the agenda-setting and decision-making stages.

Community-Level Postmaterialism and Anti-Migrant Attitudes

Matt Buehler published “Community-Level Postmateriailsm and Anti-Migrant Attitudes: An Original Survey on Opposition to Sub-Saharan African Migrants in the Middle East” in International Studies Quarterly.

Abstract: Why do native citizens of the Middle East and North Africa express greater opposition to certain types of migrants, refugees, and displaced persons? Why, particularly, do they express greater opposition to sub-Saharan African migrants? This article investigates these questions, leveraging results from an original, nationally representative survey of 2700 native Moroccan citizens. We find support for traditional theories, mostly developed from studies of Western Europe, that hypothesize that the perceived cultural, economic, and security threats migrants pose provoke citizen opposition to certain migrant subtypes. Diverging from past research, however, we argue that the importance of these threats waxes and wanes dramatically at the subnational level due to variation in community-level postmaterialism. In areas where economic development is high, and many citizens live in European-style conditions, postmaterialism—preoccupation with cultural, identity, and security-based concerns—helps to predict greater citizen opposition to sub-Saharan African migrants. However, in areas where economic development is low, and many citizens do not live like Europeans, this greater opposition to African migrants derives from economic concerns, notably job competition. While postmaterialism is considered an individual-level phenomenon, our work highlights its importance at the community level: The personal circumstances of citizens and the circumstances of the community in which they live interact to condition which perceived threats become more (or less) important to explaining anti-migrant attitudes.

All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic

Alvaro Corral published “”All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic”: The Presence of Anti-Latinx Political Rhetoric and Latinxs as Third World Threats in Secondary U.S. Citizenship Curriculum” in Teachers College Record.

Findings: Findings indicate that Latin America and, by extension, Latinxs are regularly situated as social and political dangers to the overall welfare of the United States, suggesting the presence of what we refer to as the Latinx Third World Threat Narrative. We argue that this hemispheric homogenization of Latinx peoples in curricular standards flattens important historical and cultural distinctions, thereby facilitating exchange of anti-Latinx stereotypes present in contemporary political rhetoric. We also show how U.S. Latinx civic agency is encoded as an illicit, corrupt, and destabilizing force.

Hobbes on Wealth, Poverty, and Economic Inequality

David Williams published “Hobbes on Wealth, Poverty, and Economic Inequality”



While Thomas Hobbes is not typically cited as a philosopher concerned with economic inequality, there is a great deal of evidence in his writings to suggest that he was aware of inequality and worried about its effects on the commonwealth. This essay first contextualizes Hobbes in the development of the 17th-century English political economy to understand the mercantilist milieu that might have shaped Hobbes’s thoughts. Second, it then explores Hobbes’s thoughts on wealth, poverty, and inequality, as outlined in his major political works – revealing distinctively Hobbesian grounds for understanding these phenomena. Third and finally, it explores Hobbes’s constructive political philosophy for means by which he might offer prescriptions for addressing them.

Do Natural Resources Really Cause Civil Conflict?

“Do Natural Resources Really Cause Civil Conflict? Evidence from the New Global Resources Dataset,” by Michael  Denly, Michael Findley, Joelean Hall, Andrew Stravers, and James Walsh, has been accepted at Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Abstract: Scholars have long examined the relationship between natural resources and conflict at the country level. More recently, researchers have turned to subnational analyses, using either individual countries or subnational data for a small number of resources in sub-Saharan Africa. We introduce a new sub-national dataset of 197 resources that adds many resource types, locations, and countries from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. To demonstrate the value of the new dataset, we examine how conflict incidence varies with the value of the collective set of resources in a given location using world prices. We then introduce new country-specific price data, which are more relevant for conflict dynamics. Since country-specific prices can be endogenous to conflict, we instrument country-specific prices using U.S. and world prices. We find that subnational resource wealth is associated with higher levels of conflict using some specifications, though the results vary widely by data source and world region. Using the instrumental variables strategy lends the strongest support to this positive relationship, but only for African countries.

External Validity: Forthcoming Paper at Annual Review of Political Science

Michael Findley’s, Kyosuke Kikuta’s and Michael Denly’s paper, “External Validity,” has been accepted at Annual Review of Political Science.

Abstract: External validity captures the extent to which inferences drawn from a given study’s sample apply to a broader population or other target populations. Social scientists frequently invoke external validity as an ideal, but they rarely attempt to make rigorous, credible external validity inferences. In recent years, methodologically-oriented scholars have advanced a flurry of work on various components of external validity, and this article reviews and systematizes many of those insights. We first clarify the core conceptual dimensions of external validity and introduce a simple formalization that demonstrates why external validity matters so critically. We then organize disparate arguments about how to address external validity by advancing three evaluative criteria: Model Utility, Scope Plausibility, and Specification Credibility. We conclude with a practical aspiration that scholars supplement existing reporting standards to include routine discussion of external validity. It is our hope that these evaluation and reporting standards help re-balance scientific inquiry, such that the current obsession with causal inference is complemented with an equal interest in generalized knowledge.

Mill on Deference and Democratic Character

Alec Arellano published “Mill on Deference and Democratic Character” in Political Research Quarterly.

Abstract: Citizens of liberal democracies today increasingly exhibit a distrust of perceived elites, especially experts and those of advanced educational attainment more generally. John Stuart Mill’s work offers potential responses to this phenomenon. Mill regards deference to superior wisdom as an essential part of a well-developed character while esteeming independent thought. Although his emphasis on the importance of character formation is well known, his concern for inculcating a salutary form of deference has been underexplored. I show how Mill’s approaches to this task include redesigning the political process to amplify the voice of the highly educated, promoting more widespread opportunities for learning, and consistently emphasizing the partiality of human understanding. I also compare Mill’s treatment of the place of deference in democratic politics with that of Alexis de Tocqueville’s, and consider how Tocqueville might critique Mill’s strategies for cultivating deference. In so doing, I demonstrate how these authors provide us with resources for navigating the tensions between popular sovereignty and expertise, and between independent thought and intellectual authority.

The Environmental Costs of Civil War: A Synthetic Comparison of the Congolese Forests with and without the Great War of Africa

Kyosuke Kikuta has published, “The Environmental Costs of Civil War: A Synthetic Comparison of the Congolese Forests with and without the Great War of Africa,” in Journal of Politics.

Abstract: Despite the fact that, between 1950 and 2000, more than 80% of wars occurred within biodiversity hot spots, we do not fully understand the environmental costs of war. This study conducts one of the first systematic evaluations of the costs of civil war for forest environments. The analysis, however, requires a proper counterfactual: the forest coverage if it were not for civil war. Moreover, instead of estimating an average cost of diverse civil wars, it would be better to tailor the estimate to each war. I address these problems by applying the synthetic control method to the case of the Great War of Africa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The analysis shows that the civil war caused a 1.61% loss of the forests, which is more than the entire territory of Belgium and nearly a half of Sierra Leone, over five years. The finding calls further attention to “conflict timber” problems.

Recent Alumni Publications

Brandon Archuleta: Twenty Years of Service: The Politics of Military Pension Policy and the Long Road to Reform, University Press of Kansas

Christina Bambrick: “Horizontal Rights: A Republican Vein in Liberal Constitutionalism,Polity

Katherine Bersch (and co-authors): “Responding to COVID‐19 Through Surveys of Public Servants,” Public Administration Review

Alvaro Corral (and David Leal): “Latinos por Trump? Latinos and the 2016 Election,Social Science Quarterly

Alvaro Corral: “Allies, Antagonists, or Ambivalent? Exploring Latino Attitudes about the Black Lives Matter Movement,Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences

Kyle Endres (and co-authors): “Elite Messaging and Partisan Consumerism:An Evaluation of President Trump’s Tweets and Polarization of Corporate BrandImages.Political Research Quarterly

Kyle Endres (and co-authors): “Partisan Consumerism: Experimental Tests ofConsumer Reactions to Corporate Political Activity.Journal of Politics

Jasmine Farrier: Constitutional Dysfunction on Trial, Cornell University Press

Aaron Herold (forthcoming): The Democratic Soul: Spinoza, Tocqueville, and Enlightenment Theology, University of Pennsylvania Press

Dennis Hickey: “China’s Expanding Engagement in Global Health,” Asian Perspective

Aaron Herold: “Tocqueville on Religion and Democratic Character: Equality, Mediocrity, and Greatness,” in Civil Religion in Modern Political Philosophy: Machiavelli to Tocqueville, Penn State University Press

Richard Holtzman: “Making it Up As He Goes: Donald Trump’s Hyper-Rhetorical Presidency,Fast Capitalism: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Amy Lauren Lovecraft (nee Suker) (and co-author): “Scenarios development with Alaska’s Arctic Indigenous youth: perceptions of healthy sustainable futures in the Northwest Arctic Borough,Polar Geography

Amy Lauren Lovecraft (nee Suker) (and co-author): “Risks without borders: A cultural consensus model of risks to sustainability in rapidly changing social-ecological systems,Sustainability

Steve Pittz: Recovering the Liberal Spirit: Nietzsche, Individuality, and Spiritual Freedom, SUNY Press

Daniel Ryan (and co-author): “Knowledge gaps and climate adaptation policy: a comparative analysis of Latin American countries,” Climate Policy

Trey Thomas: Recent Publications

Recent publications by Trey Thomas:

“From Disaster Response to Community Recovery: Nongovernmental Entities, Government, and Public Health” in American Journal of Public Health, 2019, with Daniel Sledge

“Gender Politics in the Lobbying Profession” in Politics & Gender, forthcoming, with Katie Marchetti and Tim LaPira

Manochehr Dorraj: Recent Publications

Recent publications by Manochehr Dorraj:

“Populism and Corporatism in the Middle East and North Africa: A Comparative Analysis” Chinese Journal of Political Science.  September 2017. Vol. 2, No. 3, PP: 288-313.

(M. Dorraj & K. Morgan) Editors, Global Impact of Unconventional Energy Resources (Lanham and New York: Lexington Books, 2019).

China and Japan’s Pursuit of Unconventional Fuels” in (M. Dorraj & K. Morgan) Editors, Global Impact of Unconventional Energy Resources (Lanham and New York: Lexington Books, 2019): 191-203.

Ken Miller: JOP Article

Ken Miller’s article, “The Divided Labor of Attack Advertising in Congressional Campaigns,” is forthcoming in Journal of Politics. Miller also has an article, co-authored with Tasha Philpot, forthcoming in Social Science Quarterly, “New Face to the Race Card: Campaigns, Racial Cues, and Candidate Credibility.”

Paula Muñoz: Cambridge University Press Book

Cambridge University Press will release Paula Muñoz’s book this year, Buying Audiences: Clientelism and Electoral Campaigns When Parties are Weak.

Description: Scholars typically emphasize the importance of organized networks and long-term relationships for sustaining electoral clientelism. Yet electoral clientelism remains widespread in many countries despite the weakening of organized parties. This book offers a new account of how clientelism and campaigning work in weak party systems and in the absence of stable party-broker relationships. Drawing on an in-depth study of Peru using a mixed methods approach and cross-national comparisons, Muñoz reveals the informational and indirect effects of investments made at the campaign stage. By distributing gifts, politicians buy the participation of poor voters at campaign events. This helps politicians improvise political organizations, persuade poor voters of candidates’ desirability, and signal electoral viability to strategic donors and voters, with campaign dynamics ultimately shaping electoral outcomes. Among other contributions, the book sheds new light on role of donations and business actors and on ongoing challenges to party building.

James Lutz: Recent Publications

Carol K. G. Lutz and James M. Lutz, “Russia and the Use of Trade Policy: Concentration with Soviet Successor States,” Global Economy Journal, Vol. 17, No. 4 (2017).

Georgia Wralstad Ulmschneider and James M. Lutz, “Terrorism Analysis and Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project: The Missing Element,” Terrorism and Political Violence online 2017

James M. Lutz and Brenda J. Lutz, “The Threat to State Security,” in Richard Jackson and Danielle Pisoiu (eds.), Contemporary Debates on Terrorism, 2nd ed, (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 75-80.

Jeff Ladewig: Election Law Journal Article

Jeff Ladewig published “‘Appearances Do Matter’: Congressional District Compactness and Electoral Turnout.” Election Law Journal, 17(2): 137-150.

Abstract: Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor famously declared in Shaw v. Reno that ‘‘appearances do matter’’ when it comes to the shape of congressional districts. Although there are no definitive legal requirements for districts’ geographical appearances, the argument is widely posited that more compact districts are better. The reasoning often asserts, and empirical studies have shown, that compactness improves
communication between representatives and constituents, increases political information flows, produces fairer results, as well as restricts excessive gerrymandering. These, in turn, can all increase political participation and improve the legitimacy our representative institutions. Despite this conventional wisdom, there is little empirical evidence on the electoral effects of compactness. Using a dataset on the compactness
of U.S. House districts—with multiple measures generated by geographic information system (GIS) analyses over two redistricting cycles, I estimate the effects of congressional district compactness on electoral turnout and argue that Sandra Day O’Connor is correct: ‘‘appearances do matter.’’

Ken Miller: Recent Publications

“The Divided Labor of Attack Advertising in Congressional Campaigns,” forthcoming in Journal of Politics

“The Gospel of Reform: The Social Gospel and Health Care Reform Attitudes,” with Eric McDaniel in Politics and Religion.

“A New Face to the Race Card? Campaigns, Racial Cues, and Candidate Credibility,” with Tasha Philpot, forthcoming in Social Science Quarterly