Faculty Research

Current Faculty Research Projects

  • Prof. Julia Azari has accepted a fellowship at the Library of Congress during the Spring 2019 semester. She will hold the position of Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library's John W. Kluge Center. During this time, she will work on a new book manuscript, Weak Parties, Strong Partisanship. She will also participate in the Center’s programming with policymakers and the public.
  • Prof. Lowell Barrington is currently working on three projects. The first examines new questions about regional, ethnic, and linguistic identities in Ukraine. It is based on new survey data from a national Ukrainian survey, collected in October of 2018. The second is a book manuscript about the relationship between nation building and state building. The third is a revision of his introductory comparative politics textbook (Comparative Politics: Structures and Choices) as a broader, introductory political science textbook.
  • Prof. Mark Berlin is currently working on three sets of projects. The first is a new project that explores a number of different research questions related to the prevention of torture, such as why countries criminalize torture and whether criminal laws against torture and other anti-torture reforms reduce the incidence of torture. A second project seeks to shed light on how developments in the largely overlooked Cold War period contributed to the formation of the modern global atrocity justice regime, with particular attention to the role of technocratic criminal law experts. A third project uses new, original data to examine why countries undertake large-scale reforms of their criminal laws.
  • Prof. Noelle Brigden is currently working on a project that maps the im/mobilities produced by gang borders in El Salvador to theorize globalization and the reordering of the nation-state through the lived spatial orientation of people. She recently completed a visiting fellowship at the Princeton University Institute for International and Regional Studies. Her book, The Migrant Passage: Clandestine Journeys from Central America was published by Princeton University Press in 2018.
  • Prof. Risa Brooks research includes a book project (with Peter White) that evaluates the nature and implications of “political control of the military” in authoritarian regimes. It includes a new theory of variation in political control, which is evaluated with large-n quantitative analysis and qualitative analysis in cases selected from around the world, including several from the Middle East and North Africa. Her research on the United States focuses on issues of military professionalism, military advice and civilian control of the military. An additional current project explores the implications for territorial safe havens for the incidence of complex terror attacks in Europe and the United States and includes data collection of terrorist attacks in both regions. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Brooks remains engage with policy debates related to her areas of expertise, and national security more broadly.
  • Prof. Darrell Dobbs is currently exploring the scope and limits of the classical trivium and quadrivium in search of an even more foundational art of learning, which might inform a pedagogical modus operandi suited to Plato’s conception of the divine in man.
  • Prof. H. Richard Friman is currently working on two book projects, the first exploring efforts against outbound smuggling by advanced industrial countries and the second on ways in which alien criminality arguments have influenced immigration reform in the United States. Other research projects underway include investigating: the origins of U.S. presidential discretionary authority to suspend and restrict alien entry; patterns of leadership succession in drug trafficking organizations; patterns of industry self-regulation in downstream grey markets; and the relationship between states and organized criminal groups during natural disasters.
  • Prof. Susan Giaimo recently published a cross-national study analyzing current health care challenges and reform efforts in industrialized democracies and the Global South. The case studies comprise the US, Germany, and South Africa. She is currently exploring the intersection of public policy and the social determinants of health.
  • Prof. Barrett McCormick is currently working on a project that compares how political and economic institutions in China and the United States have shaped the development of new technologies and in turn constrained and directed the impact of new media on politics. In a related project, he is investigating the nature of Russian information operations and working to understand how and why American media were vulnerable to information operations in 2016.
  • Prof. Paul Nolette is currently researching how elites in the legal profession have contributed to contemporary American political development through legalistic channels — for example, by seeking to change lawyer ethics rules and advocating for changes in plaintiffs’ attorneys fees in federal statutory litigation. While initially appearing to concern issues of “law” and not “politics,” these changes involve very real political conflicts with important consequences for American politics.
  • Prof. Brian Palmer-Rubin is working on a book manuscript that analyzes the participation of peasant and small-business organizations in development policy in Mexico. He is also involved in two collaborative projects: One of these uses experimental data to analyze the effect of interest organizations on state engagement for Mexican citizens. The other project uses text analysis and machine learning to illuminate the relationship between access-to-information institutions and citizen participation in policymaking in Mexico.
  • Prof. Jessica Rich is currently working on two projects. Her forthcoming book, State-Sponsored Activism: Bureaucrats and Social Movements in Democratic Brazil (Cambridge University Press), analyzes a new form of political mobilization in Latin America — in which social movements make aggressive policy demands on the state, even while relying on state actors for financial support. Her new project explores surprising tensions between democratic accountability and state capacity by revealing that sometimes the strongest challenge to building state capacity is not corruption or patronage but, rather, the very rules of government that were designed to strengthen democratic accountability. This project analyzes the factors that motivate bureaucrats to look outside government to help them build state capacity versus working within the system, in addition to the trade-offs of these different strategies for democratic accountability and state-capacity over the long term.
  • Prof. Philip Rocco is completing work on a book manuscript, Madison’s Engineers: How Policy Science Remade Federalism (under contract, Columbia University Press), which will analyze how policy experts reshaped the relationship between the federal government and the states during the latter half of the twentieth century. This book will show how advisory commissions on intergovernmental relations shaped how policymakers understood and governed the federal system. It will also analyze how fiscal austerity and the polarization of policy knowledge undermined federalism reforms. Prof. Rocco is also undertaking a new project investigating the causes and consequences of conflict over analyses produced by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Finally, he is co-editing a book on the politics of the Trump administration, Unsettled Time: American Political Development and the Trump Presidency (under contract, University of Pennsylvania Press).
  • Prof. Duane Swank is conducting two principal research projects. The first project seeks to understand what political and institutional attributes of advanced capitalist democracies help maintain socioeconomic equality in the face of postindustrial challenges. Thus, this project focuses on questions such as the determinants of contemporary social, labor market, and tax policies as well as the political-institutional causes of greater income inequality. It also seeks to understand how post-industrialization affects the creation of political coalitions in support of egalitarian policies. The second project – undertaken with Hans-Georg Betz of the University of Zurich – focuses on the questions of why radical right-wing populist parties have been successful in many European countries and, in turn, how government participation, parliamentary seats, and vote shares of radical right parties impact national public policies and institutional reforms.
  • Prof. Monica Unda-Gutierrez is working on a project oriented to explain variations in tax revenue, spending composition and inter-governmental transfers in Mexican municipalities. The project combines field research evidence with analysis of originally constructed datasets that include fiscal data, electoral results, economic indicators, and variables relating the quality of municipal services and citizen participation in local policymaking. The project is oriented not only to producing academic publications, but also to informing debates about a policy area in urgent need of attention in Mexico, given notable deficiencies in financial management on the local level in the aftermath of decentralization reforms in the late twentieth century.
  • Prof. Amber Wichowsky is Director of the Marquette Democracy Lab. Her research explores the politics of inequality, including class biases in turnout, public opinion about income disparities, money in electoral campaigns, and how public policy affects societal inequalities. She is currently working on a book manuscript (joint with Meghan Condon, Loyola University Chicago) that examines how Americans use social comparisons to make sense of income inequality and how such frames of reference affect attitudes about redistribution and feelings of political power. Her ongoing projects look at the effects of the foreclosure crisis on voting participation, how citizens engage scientific knowledge to influence environmental policies, and whether information communication technologies can help close socioeconomic gaps in local civic engagement.