The following FSU graduate students are currently seeking academic positions:
Alexandra is a Ph.D. Candidate at Florida State University and former Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ottawa. Her research focuses on public policy, state politics, and federalism through the lens of elite surveys and experimental methods. Her dissertation examines the conditions under which local officials oppose and resist state preemption by fielding three original survey experiments based on a representative sample of local officials in the U.S. and Canada. She finds that local officials are substantially more opposed to preemption when it is done by an out-party state government. Moreover, local officials are more likely to resist preemption – taking steps to litigate, skirt compliance, file a grievance, or advocate for increased autonomy – when it is done by an out-party state government. She has published in PS: Political Science & Politics, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Educational Policy, and Federalism During COVID-19: A Comparative Perspective. She has three additional papers under review, including a revise and resubmit at State Politics & Policy Quarterly. She has received over $60,000 in grants to support her research and has mentored several undergraduate students in research capacities. She teaches Introduction to American Government, Introduction to Public Policy, Public Policy Analysis, and Health Services Organization and Policy.
Broadly, Zach’s research is in international political economy, U.S. foreign policy, and the domestic politics of international relations. More specifically, his research answers questions that fall into two main themes: 1) understanding what drives public support for foreign aid provisions and 2) understanding how donor nations use foreign aid to achieve domestic and foreign policy objectives. His first dissertation chapter, which is under review, uses an instrumental variable to demonstrate how China has used foreign aid to induce other nations to invest in the renminbi. His second dissertation chapter uses a temporal exponential random graph model to ascertain how aid-for-policy deals from multiple donor nations to the same recipient state impact the amount of foreign aid a country receives. In his third chapter, he fields an original conjoint survey experiment to ascertain what drives public support for foreign aid. He has a coauthored paper under review that uses an original survey experiment to show how status considerations influence support for foreign aid spending. He also has a teaching paper under review on an original active learning simulation that he developed. He was the graduate student teacher of the year and has taught American Foreign policy, International Organizations, and American Government.
Giulia’s research area is Comparative Political Economy with a specialization in quantitative methodology and a substantive focus on gender and politics. Her dissertation investigates how parties nominate candidates based on their gender and experience and how that affects minority representation in legislatures. She develops an original model that formalizes how parties negotiate strategies that trade-off experienced candidates for diversity. She then examines whether the parties’ strategic incentives might be strong enough to prioritize their preferences, even when they are not aligned with the voters. She argues that some institutions, such as gender quotas, make these tradeoffs more salient, even leading parties to reduce their diversity efforts. She examines her propositions with two empirical tests: a dynamic panel data analysis using an original dataset with newly collected fine-grained data she assembled of all legislative party lists in Italy from 1993 to 2022 to examine whether and how parties modify their candidate selection strategies based on the type of electoral rule and the presence of a quota, which was introduced during this time period. Second, she runs both an original incentivized laboratory experiment and an original survey experiment replicating these strategic dynamics. Besides her dissertation, she is completing several projects, both independently and with colleagues, both in the topics of comparative political economy and gender and politics.
Dissertation committee: Christopher Reenock (Co-Chair), Jens Großer (Co-Chair), Amanda Driscoll, Deana Rohlinger, Ana Catalano Weeks (Uni of Bath).
Weifang’s primary research interests are the interplay between domestic and international politics, with a particular focus on the dynamics of great power competition between the U.S. and China. He employs a multi-method approach that combines randomized experiments, computational social science tools, and machine learning to explain how national leaders use international diplomacy to achieve domestic and international political goals. His research has been published in Research & Politics and has been invited for revision and resubmission at the Journal of Conflict Resolution. In the last two years, he has been awarded over $100,000 in research grants.
His book project asks: What are the domestic and international consequences of China’s “wolf-warrior” diplomacy (WWD)? China’s international image remains at historic lows in most countries worldwide. Therefore, one might expect that Chinese diplomats prioritize initiatives intended to improve their country’s image and regain international audiences’ goodwill. However, Chinese diplomats are breaking with their tradition of pursuing careful diplomacy. Today, they are more likely to behave like “wolf warriors” and respond to criticism with inflammatory and belligerent rhetoric. This raises an interesting puzzle: Why do Chinese leaders antagonize foreign audiences publicly when a major goal of diplomacy is to improve relations among countries? He developed a theory to explain how WWD increases the Chinese public’s support for their government. WWD functions as a domestic tool for national leaders to garner local support, even if it risks alienating foreign audiences. As a result, WWD generates dual effects: Increased security for the regime at the domestic level and heightened tensions at the international level.
He first uses machine learning models and text analysis to understand the nature of and trends in Chinese diplomatic discourses over the past two decades. The results reveal a discernible trend in which Chinese diplomats have increasingly employed WWD—a manifestation of assertive diplomatic discourse—over the past two decades. Then, based upon the results of machine learning models, he conducts parallel experiments, in which he presents identical sets of survey vignettes to Chinese and American citizens. The results show that WWD increases the Chinese public’s support for their government. However, this diplomatic rhetoric antagonizes the U.S. public and increases their support for aggressive foreign policies toward China. In summary, his experimental results substantiate the dual effects of WWD.
Weifang Xu, Kai Quek, and Mark Souva. “Reneging on Alliances: Experimental Evidence.” Research & Politics 10(3) (2023): https://doi.org/10.1177/20531680231203808 (5-Year Impact Factor: 4.3).
Weifang Xu. “Pride and Prejudice: The Dual Effect of Wolf-Warrior Diplomacy on Domestic and International Audiences.” Job market paper, revised and resubmitted at Journal of Conflict Resolution.