These Rice students are currently seeking academic positions:
Marvin R. McNeese Jr. (Ph.D. Expected 2014)
Marvin’s research interests include American politics, especially interest group activity across national and subnational political institutions; he is also interested in Latin American politics. His dissertation focuses on the relative advantages that political venues—the institutional settings that make policy decisions—give to the regular set of actors competing over the exercise of public authority. It is largely a corrective of punctuated equilibrium theory. My argument is that the place where policy is made has an independent effect on likelihood of realizing policy outcomes, and that savvy policy entrepreneurs pattern their advocacy based thereupon in order to, then, realize the stasis or change in their policy image of interest which will birth incremental or punctuated policy change, respectively. Punctuated equilibrium predicts that punctuated change requires an entrepreneur to move policy making to any new venue and to achieve consensus around the entrepreneur’s image of the policy. My research agenda investigates two alternative predictions: that punctuated change requires a move to a higher political venue and that having policy be made in certain venues may preclude the need for consensus around a single policy image. In addition to his dissertation, Marvin is collaborating on projects dealing with candidate’s fundraising reactions to early voting and the correlation between migration and cartel violence in Mexico.
Committee: Robert Stein (Chair), Keith Hamm, John Alford, and Doug Schuler
Jinhyeok Jang (Ph.D. expected 2014)
Jinhyeok’s research and teaching interests lie in comparative politics with an emphasis on the study of comparative political institutions, representation, and East Asian Politics including China. Another field of interest is political methodology including but not limited to ideal point estimation, social network analysis, content analysis, and data visualization.
His dissertation integrates classical and contemporary studies of legislative politics by drawing from the literature on political parties, electoral laws, and legislative agenda dynamics to explain the dimensionality of individual legislative behavior (i.e., the degree to which their decision-making is explained by a simple structure of legislative politics).
With the support of several grants, including one from the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Jinhyeok conducted six months of fieldwork in Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, and Taiwan during the Summer and Fall of 2012. During this time, he created a comprehensive data set that includes individual-level data on bill sponsorship, bill cosponsorship, roll call vote data, and legislator characteristics for the members of the Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan legislatures for the 1990-2013 periods.
Jinhyeok was a lecturer at the Korea Air Force Academy for three academic years from 2004 through 2007. In addition, he has served as a teaching assistant at both Rice University and Seoul National University.
Dissertation Committee: Mark P. Jones (Chair), Lanny W. Martin, Royce A. Carroll, and Steven W. Lewis (James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy)
Seonghui Lee (Ph.D. Expected 2014)
Seonghui studies Comparative Politics with a primary focus on how political contexts influence political behavior. As her research links macro-level political context to micro-level political behavior, her interests touch on various themes in political psychology, public opinion, political institutions, and elections and parties. Her dissertation project focuses on political interest and knowledge. She proposes a theoretical framework that draws on appraisal models of interest in psychology; but extends the theory to explain why political interest and knowledge vary so dramatically across countries. Funded by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, her dissertation offers empirical tests for the proposed appraisal structure of political interest (interest in political messages) with survey experiments. She also uses large-N survey data and media content analysis to validate the main implication from the proposed cross-national theory, i.e., how contextually generated information shortcuts (or heuristics) influence cross-national differences in political interest and knowledge.
Seonghui currently has several other research projects including economic voting in East Asia, party responsiveness in Latin America, the participation marriage gap in Switzerland, the political knowledge gender gap in Western European countries, and political dissatisfaction and its electoral consequences in plurality systems. She has also served as teaching assistant in introductory American Government and Politics and Comparative Politics courses at Rice University.
Dissertation Committee: Randy Stevenson (Chair), Lanny Martin, John Alford, Fred Oswald (Psychology)
Matt Loftis (Ph.D. expected 2014)
Matt's research focuses on themes of political accountability, transparency, and corruption, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe and newer democracies in general. His dissertation develops and tests a model of bureaucratic delegation explaining how politicians can avoid electoral accountability by delegating to bureaucrats to decrease policy-making transparency. The project uses a new, accountability-based formal theory of bureaucratic delegation to develop expectations about when and how politicians can delegate to diminish electoral accountability. He empirically tests his theory in contexts in Western and Eastern Europe, drawing on unique features of the European Union policy harmonization process to build large cross-national data sets. In addition to his dissertation, Matt also has projects under review dealing with electoral accountability in newer democracies and lobbying by American municipal governments. These, along with ongoing research on compliance in the European Union and political party communication strategies, are animated by a common focus on issues of accountability and transparency in government. Matt has also served as instructor and teaching assistant in courses on statistical methods.
Dissertation Committee: Lanny W. Martin (Chair), Royce Carroll, Randy Stevenson.
Craig’s research interests are comparative legislative behavior, computer assisted content analysis, political factions, economic voting, and the role of the media in influencing public opinion. His dissertation, “MP Ideal Points, Party Factions, and the Dynamics of Majority Governments” (funded by multiple grants, including a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant), proposes a method by which previously difficult to obtain legislative ideal points can be estimated by deploying computer-assisted content analysis on large databases of political speech. These ideal points are then used to identify informal party factions and explore the role that legislator preferences and policy factions play in the dynamics of majority governments. Craig is especially interested in the role that preferences and factions play in the allocation of ministerial portfolios, committee assignments, and leadership roles within a party. Additionally, he examines how plenary debates act as a means to relieve intraparty tension and how cabinet reshuffles reflect the changing preferences of a party’s legislative contingent. In addition to his dissertation, Craig is involved in several collaborative projects exploring the role of the media in influencing economic perceptions in multiple European nations. Additionally, he is working with the authors of the British Election Survey to examine the role that the media played in influencing political opinion at the individual and the aggregate level in the run-up to the 2010 British Election. By using computer-assisted content analysis, a unique dataset of the day-to-day media coverage of the election is being constructed in order to test whether shifting media coverage results in shifting voter intentions. Craig is currently serving as an instructor at Rice University, teaching the course “Introduction to Statistics.”
William Craig Meddaugh (Ph.D. Expected 2013)
Dissertation Committee: Randolph T. Stevenson (chair), Lanny W. Martin, and Royce Carroll.