Skip to main content

Herb York IGCC Dissertation Fellows

  • Kathryn Baragwanath Vogel

    Kathryn Baragwanath Vogel

    Political Science, UC San Diego
    Proposal Title: The Effects of Oil Windfalls on Corruption in Brazil
    "My research explores the political economy of resource governance and the effects this has on politics and policy in developing countries. My dissertation explores the effects of international commodity price cycles on political corruption in places that receive windfalls from commodities. Resource windfalls change politicians’ budget constraints, generate difficulties for voters to distinguish politicians' integrity, and create incentives for corruptible candidates to enter politics, changing the pool of candidates. In Brazil, where offshore royalties are determined and allocated exogenously, oil inflows create strong opportunities for corruption. I find strong evidence showing that oil shocks cause corruption and explore the mechanisms through which this happens. My theory of candidate entry is supported by the data, royalty receiving municipalities show more corruptible candidates entering into politics, have higher corruption outcomes and spend more on construction and less on health and education. My other work focuses on environmental politics, specifically looking at the relationship between corruption, mining, indigenous property rights and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon."
  • Elizabeth Herman

    Elizabeth Herman

    Political Science, UC Berkeley
    Proposal Title: How Does Trauma Response Affect Intergroup Relations & Support for
    Reconciliation Post-Conflict?
    "My research examines how individual trauma response affects intergroup relations and support for reconciliation after conflict. I hypothesize that adverse responses to traumatic exposure, characterized by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), lead to worsened intergroup relations and diminished support for reconciliation. As studies on forced migration and recovery from regional conflict have largely omitted psychological indicators, this research addresses an important gap in our knowledge, testing an explanatory factor not comprehensively considered. Incorporating findings from psychology into questions asked by political scientists yields a novel approach that can offer important insights, including why some regional conflicts end in peace whereas others result in continued conflict."
  • D.G. (Daegyeong) Kim

    D.G. (Daegyeong) Kim

    Political Science, UC San Diego
    Proposal Title: Three Essays on the Psychology of Power Shifts
    "My research explores the behavioral microfoundations of dominant states’ policy responses to rising powers in international politics. The dissertation project investigates three different aspects of the psychology of hegemonic rivalry under power shifts: 1) The first paper probes the problem of intention assessment, examining foundational theories in psychology to understand how observers infer the strategic intentions of a rising power. 2) The second paper turns to loss aversion and framing effects, laying out the first experimental foundation to the applicability of prospect theory to the context of power shifts in IR. 3) The last paper examines the role of a rising power’s perceived identity, touching upon one of the key questions concerning the prospect of war and peace in our era: how can the established powers manage the rise of China with its putatively distinct racial, ideological and cultural identities?"
  • Lucia Luna Victoria

    Lucia Luna Victoria

    History, UC Davis
    Proposal Title: Urban Battleground: Transformation and Turmoil in Lima during the
    Peruvian Internal Conflict
    "My research explores the impact of the Peruvian civil war on Lima’s shantytowns. Perceived as either bastions of resistance or cradles of insurgency, I argue that shantytowns took center stage in the fight between Maoist terrorists and the Peruvian State from 1988 to 1992. In response to the Shining Path’s infiltration of political and grassroot organizations, the military occupied several shantytowns. The clashes culminated in the assassination, persecution, and exile of residents. Ongoing repression against the urban poor eroded the social and political fabric in the shantytowns. My work overturns dominant stereotypes of shantytown residents as either terrorists, clients of the government, or victims caught between two fires. Through oral histories and archival research, I seek demonstrate how the experiences of Lima’s shantytowns illuminate collective struggles for survival and basic human dignity."
  • Kyrstin Mallon Andrews

    Kyrstin Mallon Andrews

    Anthropology, UC Irvine
    Proposal Title: Climates of Risk, Navigating Changing Oceans, Human Health, and Poaching in the Caribbean
    "More than 700 islands and coastal countries are connected by the Caribbean Sea, yet as climate change reconstitutes the ecological configuration of this sea, the security of human health and political relationships of this region grow increasingly threatened. As climate change diminished fish stocks in the near-shore region diver fishermen must take increasing risks as they follow the fish into deeper water, and across national borders illegally as they poach the more plentiful waters of other island nations. Such risky behaviors have broader consequences: fishing communities have seen a significant rise in the incidents of decompression sickness, and political relations between island nations are threatened as over 300 fishermen have been arrested and jailed in the past year. Through prolonged ethnographic research, my dissertation analyzes the daily experiences and decisions of coastal communities who must navigate both climate change and restrictive conservation policies, contributing to efforts for more equitable environmental policy."

  • Cesar Benshuni Martinez Alvarez

    Political Science, UC Los Angeles
    Proposal Title: Essays on the Political Economy of Climate Change in the Developing World
    "My dissertation studies the political logic of deforestation—a major source of greenhouse gas—and climate change adaptation, with a regional focus in Latin America. The first component of my work aims to understand the political logic of land use change: do citizens in farming-intensive regions reward their representatives for policies that induce deforestation? If not, what explains the selective enforcement of forest conservation measures? The second part of my dissertation analyzes the drivers of adaptation to climate change at the local level, in particular among common-pool resources users and disadvantaged populations: why some communities are better able to adjust to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation than others? I argue that political variables within communities and in their relation with local authorities are key drivers of this variation. Throughout my dissertation, I employ a wide array of methodological approaches, including natural experiments, surveys, and geographic information systems, as well as diverse data sources, such as administrative data and satellite imagery."
  • David Sungho Park

    David Sungho Park

    Economics, UC Santa Cruz
    Proposal Title: Women Empowerment and Intimate Partner Violence: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Liberia
    "My research agenda is centered on ways to mitigate the lasting impacts of internal conflict. One aspect often left out during the recovery stage is an entrenched attitude towards violence. During a civil war, violence against civilians is often systematically mobilized as a “weapon of war” to terrify and subdue communities. Research suggests that these attitudes towards violence, once entrenched, may persist. One potential consequence of this is violence within the household. My research project addresses intimate partner violence (IPV) among a war-affected population by conducting a randomized controlled trial with 1,200 disadvantaged women in Monrovia, Liberia. Even after 15 years at peace, Liberia is still suffering from a "culture of violence," one form of which is a high prevalence of IPV under a permissive environment to violence. We experimentally evaluate the effectiveness of a very intensive female empowerment program run by Red Cross that integrates psychosocial support with vocational training and business capital grants targeted towards marginalized women in war-torn communities."
  •  Gregoire Phillips

    Gregoire Phillips

    Political Science, UC San Diego
    Proposal Title: Velvet Gloves on Iron Fists: Media, Influence, and Power in Modern Extremism
    "What strategies do extremist groups employ to gain and maintain support and compliance among a broad coalition of supporters with a variety of different ideological and material interests? In my dissertation, I argue that extremists invest in extensive, multifaceted media campaigns to signal commitment to multiple, sometimes competing constituencies in order to broaden their influence. I identify three particularly salient mechanisms through which they do so – tying hands, sinking costs, and reframing the conflict narrative – that connect the political incentives that extremists engaged in local conflict have to expand their coalition of supporters to the way they use media to communicate with these audiences. I then use applied machine learning methods on a corpus of over 10,000 propaganda releases by three Islamic extremist groups from 2012-2019 to test how responsive the use of these signals is to changes in the acquisition of territory, the group’s primary source of revenue, and changes in the military distribution of power. Altogether, this research agenda brings together a reconceptualization of rebel propaganda and a rigorous empirical treatment of extremist media content to show how non-state actors use virtual innovations to accomplish their goals in an internet age."
  • John Porten

    John Porten

    Political Science, UC San Diego
    Proposal Title: Civil Society, Civil War - The Use and Abuse of Civilian Organizations in Conflict Zones
    "I research community politics during conflict and the organizational behavior of violent groups. My dissertation considers the role of civic organizations in rural Nepal during the country's ten-year Maoist insurgency. Using a mixed methods approach, I find evidence that Maoist rebels approached and coopted the organizational capacity of local organizations, and selected well-organized villages within their allied constituencies as base areas before expanding into poorly-organized territory. My other projects consider how institutional design can shape cross-ethnic cooperation (in South Africa) and how refugees respond to overtures from extremist groups (in Kenya and Somalia). Prior to attending UCSD, I worked as an attorney in a corporate litigation practice."
  • Luke Sanford

    Luke Sanford

    Political Science and School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego
    Proposal Title: The Political Economy of Environmental Public Goods and Land Use Change
    "My work addresses how politicians decide to use natural resources, and what the long-term effects of these decisions are. One component of my research investigates where, when, and how politicians are able to exchange access to natural resources for political support and the long-term effects of these actions on the environment and human welfare. Another component develops statistical and computational techniques which use the spatial, temporal, and spectral information encoded in satellite images to improve our ability to evaluate how policies and institutions affect land use. My research draws on methods from statistics, economics, and computer science and engages substantively with research from environmental science, remote sensing, and political science."
  • Aaron Tester

    Aaron Tester

    Sociology, UC Irvine
    Proposal Title: Reconstituting the State: Decentralization and the Rise of Local Governments
    "Around the world local governments are increasingly tasked with the delivery of public services in areas such as the environment, education, health, and infrastructure. Moreover, many are gaining political authority over their respective domains. As part of this process, national policymakers routinely establish entirely new tiers of public administration. This emergent form of state-building, known as political decentralization, ostensibly streamlines development, enhances democracy, and secures political stability in polities around the globe. However, despite the ubiquity of these reforms and lack of consensus regarding their actual effects, research on the factors driving these changes is scant. Drawing on decentralization statutes in 130 countries from 1970–2015, I assess the forces underpinning the rise of local governments and their variable democratization. Broadly, I focus on how transnational organizations and institutions orient this shift."