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|American||Comparative||International Relations||Methods||Formal Theory|
|Kerim Can Kavakli||•|
His dissertation unpacks the black box of war in three ways. It addresses how battles lead to the end of war by estimating the influence of battles on the duration and outcome of the American Civil War using currency prices as a daily measure of the expected duration and outcome of this war. It addresses how the technology of war varies across wars by estimating a Bayesian hierarchical model of a production function of battle casualties. It addresses the measurement of war, specifically civil war, by estimating a hidden Markov model which is able to simultaneously account for the uncertainty that a country is in a civil war due to different definitions of civil war, and estimate the covariates associated with the onset and continuation of civil war.
- "The Topology of Interbank Payments Flows," 2007, with Kimmo Soramaki, Morten L. Bech, Robert J. Glass, and Walter E. Beyeler, Physica A. (cited 127 times and cited in Congressional testimony on the 2007 financial crisis)
- "Changes in the Timing Distribution of Fedwire Funds Transfers ", 2008, with Olivier Armantier and James J. McAndrews, Federal Reserve Bank of New York Economic Policy Review.
Awards: Emory University QuanTM Pre-doctoral Fellow (2013), University of Rochester STAR Lab Fellow (2012-2013); Summer Workshop on Analysis of Military Operations and Strategy (SWAMOS) 2012; University of Rochester STAR Lab Poster Award 2012; University of Rochester Political Science Graduate Student Teaching Award, 2011; University of Rochester Sproull Fellowship, 2007-2009.
His dissertation explores political violence and human rights in the developing and developed world from a broad comparative perspective. His research challenges what has been termed the Domestic Democratic Peace, arguing that violations of the right to the physical integrity of the person - a subset of human rights - are in fact quite common in democratically governed societies. Contrary to the current literature on repression and human rights, he shows that these violations are not exclusively observed in times of extreme political turmoil or during involvement in international and civil wars. Rather, they must be seen as a function of broader democratic deficits and the inability to hold coercive agencies accountable. Whereas current approaches place overwhelming emphasis on national security threats and leaders' utility to engage in repressive behavior, he develops a theory suggesting that individuals' mere contact 2with executive agencies increases the probability of physical integrity rights violations. In line with this theory, he proposes a set of explicit mechanisms that explain how the pacifying influence of democratic institutions can be undermined or circumvented. His statistical analyses show that the effectiveness of elections and other institutional constraints in reducing violations of physical integrity rights varies considerably. Specifically, he finds that marginalized people and non-citizens tend to be excluded or exempted from the democratic political process and thus not able to benefit from the pacifying effects attributed to democratic accountability and representation.
His primary research and teaching interests are in Comparative Politics, particularly Human Rights, Repression and Conflict Processes.
Awards: Political Science Department Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award (2012). Theory and Statistics Research Laboratory Fellowship (2012)
His dissertation consists of three essays focusing on how institutional rules affect executive decision-making in the United States. The first essay examines how bureaucratic appointments are made when bargaining takes place over both agency preferences and competence. I show that incompetence does not result in equilibrium when the principals are solely concerned with policy. I then show that the inclusion of nonpolicy incentives (such as patronage) can induce equilibrium incompetence. The second essay of my dissertation focuses on the importance of temporal dynamics and the screening process undertaken before nominations are sent to the legislature for confirmation. Using a formal model, I provide a number of results, many of which showcase the importance of temporal dynamics and the pre-nomination process in the selection and confirmation of nominees, and the eventual competence of agencies to which they are appointed. Indeed, by modeling both nomination and confirmation delay, and the pool of potential nominees, I show that many instances of both nomination and confirmation delay are due to shortcomings in the pool of potential appointees, a finding heretofore unnoticed in the literature. Finally, the final essay introduces a new statistical model to political science—the Weibull count model, which, under certain conditions, provides more accurate results than conventional count models.
- "Does it Really Hurt to Be Out of Step?" (with Lawrence S. Rothenberg and Kristin K. Rulison), Forthcoming at Political Research Quarterly.
- "Earmarks and Representation" (in progress; with David M. Primo, Lawrence S. Rothenberg, and Kristin K. Rulison).
Awards: Center for the Study of Democratic Politics Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Vanderbilt University, 2012-2013; The Star Lab Conference Presentation Award, 2012; MPSA 3Latino Caucus Award (best paper by a Latino graduate student at MPSA), 2011; NSF-EITM Summer Fellowship Grant, Washington University in St. Louis, 2011
Kerim's dissertation focuses on national leaders to explain why some nations enjoy peace and prosperity. His first paper focuses on leaders who return to office after a stint in the opposition. It shows that leader comebacks are most common and strongly dependent on past performance in parliamentary democracies, and uses this fact to explain (1) why parliamentary democracies are immune to diversionary wars and corruption by outgoing leaders, and (2) why parliamentary democracies are more durable than presidential ones. His second paper proposes and tests a theory of international conflict in which leaders adopt international aggression to set the agenda in domestic politics. This theory is an alternative to the existing competence-signaling models of crisis bargaining. His third paper argues that unconditional foreign aid attracts to power kleptocratic leaders and shows that the drop in unconditional aid after 1990 resulted in less economically harmful coup d'etats.
Field Research: Conducted interviews and collected data on UN peacekeeping operations at the UN Headquarters and member state consulates in New York City in 2009.
Awards: Theory and Statistics Research Lab Fellowship, 2012; W. Allen Wallis Institute of Political Economy Fellowship, 2011; Richard F. Fenno Research Grant (for field work), 2009.
His research studies the implications of contemporary Internet-based political activism for individual political behavior, interest group decisionmaking, and the federal policymaking process.The first paper makes an novel argument that presidents have possessed a capacity to selectively appeal to their own party's primary voters, which has become cheaper to use with the advent of mass email lists. Using data on public appeals from 1957 through the present, he finds that presidents make fewer public appeals as they become more extreme in unified government situations, which is exactly when his theory predicts that they will choose instead to utilize their targeted appeals capacity. The second paper investigates how exposure to group communications via different forms of media influences individual beliefs about the expected utility of membership. He argues that estimates of the values of a group's goals were increased the most through positive messages sent through email, while efficacy beliefs increased the most from positive direct experience and actually decreased with positive messages sent through email about individual efficacy. The third project in the dissertation develops a theory of interest group membership and decision-making which allows for individuals not only to contribute or free ride 4for the creation of a club good and a public good, but to opt out of the club good altogether and exercise an 'exit option'. He argues that the presence of an exit option influences not only the actions of members, who choose to leave when faced with permanent minority status in a group, but the exit option changes the action of group leaders, who select policies designed to maximize the number of activists and members, who provide leaders with resources and influence, respectively.
- "The Development of Political Attitudes and Behavior Among Young Adults" (with Richard G. Niemi) Australian Journal of Political Science, 2012, 47(1), 31-54.
- "Are You Doing Your Part? Veterans, Political Attitudes and Heinlein's Conception of Citizenship", with Tyson Chatagnier (invited to revise and resubmit, Armed Forces and Society).
Awards: Institute for Humane Studies Bernard Marcus Fellow (2011-2013)
Teaching: : Introduction to American Government (PSC 117), 2012; Introduction to Game Theory (Rochester Scholars), 2011.
He specialized in comparative political economy, with a special interest in the political economy of development and conflict.
His dissertation examines the causes and dynamics of electoral violence, using game theoretic models, statistical methods, and qualitative case studies. With regard to electoral campaigns, he shows how structural factors, such as the strength of the rule of law, features of the electorate, and the candidates' available campaign tools, determine both the probability and identity of perpetrators and targets of campaign violence. The weaker a country's rule of law, the greater the difference in terms of partisanship between the candidates' supporters and swing voters, and the more polarized the electorate is, the more likely candidates are to resort to violence and intimidation. Moreover, swing voters will only be targeted if one or both candidates can also bribe voters in addition to using violence, swing voters are sufficiently less partisan than supporters, and partisan polarization is low. In all other cases, supporters are the primary targets. With regard to post-electoral unrest, he shows how the presence of a free and independent media affects electoral dynamics and the likelihood of a post-electoral protest. Because of the poor informational environment in which elections are held and the uncertainty regarding the fairness of the contest, post-electoral protests are much more frequent in developing than in developed countries. Moreover, within developing countries, the detection probability of fraud and the opposition's believe about the incumbent's popular support determine both the electoral dynamics and the election loser's protest decision. If the detection probability of fraud is too low, then unpopular incumbents are tempted to gamble for resurrection by committing fraud. But if the opposition believes any moderate incumbent victory is due to fraud, independent of the evidence at hand, then popular incumbents are forced to engage in manipulation to signal their type and avoid post-electoral unrest. Hence, if and only if both the incumbent is re-elected with a moderate vote share and hard evidence of fraud is fraud, will the election loser call his supporters to the street.
He expects to defend his dissertation in the fall of 2012. This year he is a senior research associate in the Empirical Studies of Conflict (ESOC) project at Princeton University.
Field Work: Senegal, West Africa 2010
Publications: "Is There an Environmental Version of the Kantian Peace? Insights From Water Pollution in Europe." European Journal of International Relations 16(1), 77-102 (co-authored with Thomas Bernauer).
Awards: : The Star Lab Fellowship 2011-2012, NSF-EITM Summer Fellowship Grant 2011, APSA Travel Grant 2011, Seed Grant for International Field Research 2010
Teaching: He thought his own undergraduate course: PSC 164: Politics of Authoritarian Regimes, 2010 and 2011
Her dissertation focuses on party competition. In the first paper, she looks at the manipulation of issue salience and party positions by parties in order to gain advantages over their competitors. She presents evidence of parties strategically changing issue position as well as shaping issue salience. The second paper presents a different take on party competition and proposes that not only the ideology, but also the characteristics of party electorates determine which political groupings are perceived by parties as their closest competitors. She analyzes how having segmented electorates affects the behavior of parties when it comes to coalition formation and duration. In the third paper, she analyzes the competition in the second-order elections in Central Europe, focusing on how parties that are in the national level government perform in regional and European parliament elections, and to what extent their performance depends on perceptions of national government performance.
Awards: Skalny Center Pre-Doctoral Fellowship 2012-2013, APSA Travel Grant 2012, Summer Seed Grant for International Field Research 2010, Skalny Center Research Grant 2010
Field Work: Poland and the Czech Republic
Teaching: Taught her own course: PSC 169 - Politics of New Europe, 2012.