Research Opportunities

Gov 92r

Gov 92r allows you to conduct research in the Government department for academic credit. It is graded SAT/UNSAT. If you are interested in any of these projects, please contact the supervisors directly. You will need to submit the Gov 92r form (available in CGIS K151 and here) to the Government Undergraduate Office in CGIS K151 before you can register for the course on my.harvard.

Spring 2019

Melani Cammett
Reducing Ethnosectarian Conflict

Since at least the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Middle East has witnessed increased political violence, often carried out in the name of religion. Identity-based conflict is not unique to the Middle East: In industrialized and developing countries alike, many other countries have experienced deep tensions and even violent conflict, ostensibly along ethnic or religious lines. How can intergroup conflict be mitigated? Is it possible to foster alternative frameworks for citizenship that transcend ethnic or religious categories by offering an inclusive, crosscutting conception of national belonging? This project aims to answer these questions through a mixed methods approach including comparative historical analysis and quantitative tests. The initial phase of the research - and the focus of this GOV92 project - entails in-depth analyses of historical and more contemporary cases of non-Middle Eastern countries that have experienced and successfully reduced intergroup conflict, beginning with cases from Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia and then moving into other countries in Europe and other regions.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Familiarity with social science research methods, ideally with some training in the principles of research design and basic familiarity with relevant quantitative and/or qualitative approaches.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:

mcammett@g.harvard.edu
 

Christina Davis
Membership in International Organizations

States join international organizations both to accomplish technical coordination on specific issues and to strengthen relations with other states. This project involves historic case studies and statistical analysis to examine how geopolitical context shapes when and how states join organizations. Students will research background material on specific organizations, collect data, and prepare graphs to visualize patterns in sixty years of membership across over 200 organizations ranging from the United Nations to the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank. The exclusion of Palestine and Taiwan represent one area for new case research as part of the project.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Skills in foreign languages (especially French, Chinese, or Japanese) and R coding helpful but not required.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
Christina Davis
cldavis@harvard.edu
 

Ryan Enos
Social Geography and Political Behavior

Geography is of central importance to the study of politics, and often structures political, cultural, and social divisions, including political polarization and the urban-rural divide. This project explores how where people live - and their experience of different social and environmental contexts - relates to their political attitudes and behavior. Research assistants will learn about the various approaches to understanding these complex relationships and engage in original data collection. As part of this project, research assistants will help run a "lab in the field" experiment that will take place at locations around Boston and will require them to interact with and collect data from research subjects.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): none, except a willingness to work at scheduled times.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
Prof. Ryan Enos renos@gov.harvard.edu
 

 

Jennifer Hochschild
Politics and Ideology of Genomic Science

I am working on the draft of a book, that includes a mix of political philosophy, policy analysis, analyses of public opinion surveys, coding of articles, qualitative analysis of open-ended interview material, and so on - all seeking to understand and evaluate how Americans are responding to the new science of genomics.  The research will engage with some of those sets of evidence, especially those in which the RA has expertise or particular interest.  It may also involve setting up and participating in interviews with experts in genomic science in the greater Boston area.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Ideally, good computer search skills, knowledge of Qualtrics, adept use of spreadsheet, ability to analyze survey data.  Some courses on genetics/genomics would be very helpful.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:
Jennifer Hochschild (
hochschild@gov.harvard.edu)
 

David Kane
Tools for Data Science Education

I teach two new courses: Gov 1005: Data and Gov 1006: Models. Together, they will enroll hundreds of students in 2019-2020. The purpose of this project is to create tools and resources --- use R, git, GitHub, and DataCamp --- which make these courses more effective.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): An interest in pedagogy and familiarity with the relevant tools.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:

dkane@fas.harvard.edu
 

Horacio Larreguy
The Effect of Education on Political Engagement Across Regime Type: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

The student will contribute to this book project exploring the relationship between education and political engagement in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe by researching the politics of each country, with a particular focus on how voter mobilization work and how that might differ with their level of education. The student will reflect this work in two or three essays between 20 and 30 pages.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): None.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:

hlarreguy@fas.harvard.edu
 

Horacio Larreguy
How Does Political Violence Shape the Political Supply? Evidence from the 2018 Mexican Election

The 2018 Mexican elections saw more than 150 political candidates assassinated by the organized crime, and more than six thousand are estimated to have stepped down from candidacy as a result of intimidation. This project aims at assessing how political violence shapes the political supply. The student will contribute to constructing a dataset with information surrounding the assassination of mayoral candidates during the 2018 Mexican elections.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Knowledge of Spanish is required.
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:

hlarreguy@fas.harvard.edu
 

Harvey Mansfield
The Ideas Moving American Political Parties Today

Seeking help in the preparation of a book on "Our Parties," analyzing and evaluating the ideas of the two parties.  Democrats inspired by Progressivism, Republicans by conservatism.  Both systems are under challenge today from socialism on the left, Trump on the right. I need an RA to read books and articles and to summarize them in written reports, given in weekly meetings.  Ideas are not just policy questions but the dispositions that inspire them.  For a sense of the project, see my two articles in City Journal of 2015.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Intelligence and a hound dog's sense of smell connected to the intellect.  No methodological or quantitative skills needed, though these are not a disqualification. 
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:

h_mansfield@harvard.edu
 

Payam Mohseni
Iranian Regional Security Policy and Sectarian De-Escalation in the Middle East

This project focuses on sectarian politics in the Middle East and Iran’s regional foreign policy. In specific, attention will be paid to the “Axis of Resistance” comprising of Iran, Iraq and Syria as well as various non-state actors such as Hezbollah, Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi and other militia actors.  We will be looking at larger geo-political struggles, social transformations, and political thought affecting Axis players. Researchers may also be required to undertake analysis of Saudi and GCC state foreign policies, as well as Sunni Salafi movements in the Middle East. Responsibilities will include news and analysis monitoring, collecting and synthesizing secondary scholarship, and attending and summarizing talks/events pertaining to the research project.
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Reading ability in Arabic or Persian is preferred but not required. 
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:

Payam_Mohseni@hks.harvard.edu
 

Thomas F. Remington
Labor Markets and Wage Inequality in Comparative Perspective

As part of a larger research project comparing wage and income inequality in the United States, Russia, and China, I wish to analyze labor market institutions in other large, developed, heterogeneous states.  Canada poses a particularly apt point of reference because, like the United States, it is geographically large and heterogeneous, with a federal constitution and a developed capitalist economy.  However, despite rising concentration of labor market income gains at the high end of the distribution, it has not experienced wage stagnation and middle class shrinkage to the same degree as the United States.  I would like an RA to gather data on labor market trends and institutions in Canada at the federal and province levels over the past four decades in order to inform a comparison with the United States on the ways in which labor market institutions such as employment and labor law enforcement, anti-trust regulation, and minimum wage law influence wages at the low and middle ends of the distribution.  The broad hypothesis is that politically-established labor market institutions in Canada buffer low-wage workers against some of the effects of global trade integration, technological change, and monopsony labor market power that have driven down wage and social benefits levels in the United States. 
Prerequisites (courses and/or methodological skills): Familiarity with Excel
Contact: If you're interested, send a CV, 2 references, and a short paragraph on why this project interests you to:

tremington@fas.harvard.edu