Marvin R. McNeese Jr. (Ph.D. 2015)
Curriculum Vitae
Website: http://mcneese.rice.edu/

Marvin’s research interests include American politics, especially interest group activity across national and subnational political institutions.  His dissertation focuses on the relative advantages provided to policy advocates by political venues—the institutional settings where policy decisions are made.  Building on Baumgartner and Jones’ punctuated equilibrium theory, he tests whether where policy is made has an independent effect on likelihood of policy adoption.  Punctuated equilibrium theory suggests that a change in policy requires an advocate to move decision-making to a new venue that is most advantageous to the advocate’s position. Marvin’s research seeks to explain the venue choices policy advocates make, whether those choices affect policy outcomes, and whether policy consensus among advocates is necessary for advancing policy change.   He tests hypotheses with a re-analysis of Baumgartner et al. (2009) Lobbying and Policy Change data set.  He also collects original data on the issue of hydraulic fracturing for testing his consensus hypothesis, which involved a machine aided content analysis of 20 national and regional newspapers’ coverage of hydraulic fracturing between 2008-2013.  He has taught American politics courses as well as an undergraduate statistics and research design course.  He also maintains an interest in Latin American politics, having researched the Afro-Brazilian Political Movement (for Civil Rights) through his Masters program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dissertation Committee: Robert Stein (Chair), Keith Hamm, John Alford, and Doug Schuler


Naoko Matsumura (Ph.D. Expected 2015)
Curriculum Vita 
Website: http://nmatsumura.com/

Naoko’s primary area of research is the quantitative study of International Relations with focuses on international organizations, international cooperation, and domestic origins of foreign policy changes. Her dissertation, “The Effects of Foreign Audiences in International Dispute Settlements,” explores the question of why international actors use international organizations (IOs) to settle their disputes when such institutions often do not have enforcement power of their own. She approaches this question by looking at domestic and international sources of IO enforcement. She argues that international actors use IOs to transmit information to foreign audiences who are expected to help promote a state’s compliance with international obligations. She empirically tests theoretical implications from her argument with data on international actors’ uses of dispute settlement mechanisms in two issue areas: trade and foreign investment. Her dissertation project is supported by a Rice SSRI Dissertation Improvement Grant. Naoko’s other projects focus on the institutional designs of IOs and their effects on international cooperation.  Naoko is going to serve as an instructor at Rice University in Fall 2014, teaching the course “International Organization.”  

Dissertation Committee: Brett Ashley Leeds (Chair), T. Clifton Morgan, Songying Fang, and Richard Boylan (Economics)