Kimberly Kay Hoang (Sociology)
In Playing in the Gray: Foreign Investment in Frontier Markets, Kimberly Kay Hoang traces the flow of capital from offshore funds in places like the Cayman Islands to holding companies in Singapore or Hong Kong and finally to investments in places like Vietnam and Myanmar. The planned book looks at how investors capitalize on frontier markets -- where rule of law is absent, regulations can quickly change, government intervention is high, and corruption is rife to explain why and how investors ‘play in the gray.’
Benjamin Lessing (Political Science)
Inside Out: Prison Gangs’ Criminal Governance as a Threat to State Authority
From El Salvador to Chicago, prison gangs have learned to project power beyond prison walls in ways that pose a serious challenge to state authority and that call into question mass incarceration policies. Benjamin Lessing will visit multiple field sites in Brazil to witness the ongoing expansion of sophisticated Brazilian prison gangs and document the impact gang governance has on local residents.
Monika Nalepa (Political Science)
Transitional Justice and the Quality of Democratic Representation
When authoritarian regimes known for systematic human rights violations transition to democracies, citizens and politicians in the new regimes reckon with those violations in different ways. Using original data on every truth commission, act of lustration, and purge of former authoritarian elites since 1946, Monika Nalepa has developed stronger measures of transitional justice strategies than are currently available to assess the effects of these different strategies on the quality of democratic representation.
Francois Richard (Anthropology)
Politics of the Past & Material Expressions of Frenchness in the Municipio of San Rafael, Veracruz, Mexico
What does it mean to be French? As many ponder this question in contemporary France, Francois Richard is embarking on an ambitious study of the objects, architectures, and landscapes created by communities of French farmers that settled in the coastal Mexican state of Veracruz during the 1800s, uncovering valuable lessons about French identity, nation, and multiculturalism in the process.
James Robinson (Harris School of Public Policy)
State Formation and Popular Contention
Understanding the process of building state capacity is an essential question in social science, and James Robinson tackles this question by studying the relationship between state and society in Colombia, where the expansion of the road network and the introduction of new constitutional rights has affected the very nature of the country’s political process by changing ways citizens coordinate to make claims on the state.
Michael Albertus (Political Science)
Land Reform and Long-Term Development
Michael Albertus’ ongoing project examines the implications of land reform for multiple developmental outcomes such as the provision of public education, the political integration of historically marginalized social groups, and civil conflict. The project is one of the most detailed empirical examinations of land reform’s impact on development to date, and preliminary evidence from Peru suggests that land reform’s effects are conditional, depending on the scope and execution of reforms.
Boaz Keysar (Psychology)
Using Language to Promote Sustainable Consumption
People are reluctant to use certain products that could mitigate water and food scarcity in the future like recycled wastewater and insect-based food because they are considered disgusting. Building on previous work, Boaz Keysar will evaluate whether presenting such aversive products in a non-native language can nudge people into consuming more of them by reducing emotions such as disgust. Together with his lab team, they will seek both behavioral and physiological evidence for the hypothesis. They will test this hypothesis with participants from China, Israel, and Italy.
Alan Kolata (Anthropology) & Sabina Shaikh (Social Sciences Collegiate Division and Harris School of Public Policy)
Economic, Social, and Environmental Drivers of Rural to Urban Migration in the Lower Mekong River Basin of Cambodia
Over the past thirty years, economic growth, demographic recovery, and environmental changes have fueled rural migration into the cities of Cambodia. Alan Kolata and Sabina Shaikh are expanding their data collection in the Mekong River Basin to analyze the effects of migration on the viability of traditional rural livelihoods and model the interpenetrating economic, social, and environmental drivers of migration from villages to urban centers like Phnom Penh.