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Dissertation and Thesis Presentations

Candidates who are in the process of defending their doctoral dissertation or master's thesis may submit their information to the Office of Graduate Studies for posting to this page. Submissions intended for this page should be sent at least two weeks before the date of the defense.

Dissertation Presentation

Student Name: Jason E. Fritz
Graduate Level: PhD
Field of Study: Justice, Law and Criminology
Committee Chair: Prof. Joseph Young
Committee Members: Prof. Thomas Zeitzoff, Prof. Stephen Tankel, Dr. Fredric Wehrey (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
Date of Presentation: November 12, 2019
Presentation Location: Kerwin 300
Time of Presentation: 11am
Title of Dissertation: The Politics of Policing Political Violence
Abstract: The literature on policing focuses heavily upon the control of crimes and theories of legitimacy. As police are armed actors tasked to enforce the laws of political actors, their actions are driven by politics and have political effects. This is particularly the case when police attempt to control political violence, that is, violence committed by organized groups with political objectives. Hills (2009) identified three ways in which politics and policing interact: in determining a policing style, through the act of policing, and struggles that arise because of policing. This dissertation seeks to understand the relationship between policing and political violence in each of these three political interactions.
I examine the politics of determining policing style in the aftermath of an intervention into a civil war (Chapter 2). I address the puzzle of why, despite enormous resources committed, that police creation and development programs in large interventions typically fail to become democratic police. I find using case study analysis that intervenors take shortcuts in policing training to grow the police force large enough to substitute for intervening forces. Additionally, host nation governments formed as warlord coalitions will not develop democratic police because of their need to distribute force among the coalition. In Chapter 3 I examine how legal sanctions affect foreign fighter mobilization at the state level. States have varied laws that can block mobilization, mete post hoc punishment for engaging in terrorism, or revoke citizenship. And yet, foreign fighter mobilization rates vary. Using regression analysis, I find that citizenship revocation laws are correlated with high levels of mobilization, so the act of trying to police would-be terrorists has had no effect.
In examining how political struggles arise from policing, I look at the role of police militarization in the United States in predicting right-wing extremist violence (Chapter 4). Using panel data from 2006 through 2014, I find that American counties that receive more excess military equipment from the U.S. government are more likely to experience right-wing extremist attacks.



Dissertation Presentation

Student Name: Romina Kazandjian
Graduate Level: Ph.D.
Field of Study: Economics
Committee Chair: Prof. Simon Sheng 
Committee Members: Prof. Evan Kraft, Dr. Tucker McElroy (US Census Bureau), Dr. Jeff Fuhrer (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) 
Date: November 21, 2019
Location: Kreeger 100
Time: 2:30pm

Title of Dissertation: Information Rigidity and Economic Uncertainty: A New Theory and Stylized Facts

Abstract: I propose a structural micro-founded sticky-noisy information model with high- and low-uncertainty regimes. Agents first appraise the state of uncertainty and only spend resources to update their predictions if they perceive uncertainty as sufficiently high. Time-varying uncertainty affects expectation formation through two direct channels: 1) the wake-up call effect, which causes agents to pay more attention, increasing their quantity of information; and 2) the wait-and-see effect, which decreases their quality of information and prompts them to put less weight on new noisier information. Using structural estimation of alternative models with information frictions, I find that accounting for the indirect state-dependence channel better explains the observed information rigidity, since it considers the interaction between the two direct effects. A substantial amount of information rigidity is due to inattention, leaving ample room for policymakers to employ frequent, direct, and simple forward guidance to pierce the veil of inattention