Autumn 2013

Titles will be announced shortly. All talks begin at 12:45 p.m. and will be held in room 4-E4-SR03, EXCEPT November 13, when the talk will be held in Room 5-E4-SR04..

7 October 

Jordi Vidal-Robert, University of Warwick

Read the Dondena Interview here.

"Habemus Papam? Polarization and conflict in the Papal States"

Does increased disagreement among members of an elite translate into more conflict? Divisions among the elite might weaken the central authority, lowering its ability to suffocate revolts. In this paper we study the effect of division within elite groups on the probability of internal conflicts in the Papal States between 1295 and 1878. Using data from the papal conclaves during this period, we want to understand how divisions within the College of Cardinals (the elite of the Papal States) shaped conflict within the Papal States. 


21 October 

Frank Furstenberg, University of Pennsylvania

Read the Dondena Interview here.

"Behind the Academic Curtain: Finding success and happiness with a Ph.D."

While the greatest anxieties for PhD candidates and postgrads are often centered on getting that tenure-track dream job, each stage of an academic career poses a series of distinctive problems. Furstenberg divides these stages into five chapters that cover the entire trajectory of an academic life, including how to make use of a PhD outside of academia. From finding the right job to earning tenure, from managing teaching loads to conducting research, from working on committees to easing into retirement, he illuminates all the challenges and opportunities an academic can expect to encounter. He will discuss the differences he has observed between the U.S. and European academic marketplaces, and the applicability of his lessons to Italy in particular.


13 November (please note this talk will be held in Room 5-E4-SR04)

Eric Kaufmann, Birkbeck University of London

Read the Dondena Interview here.

"Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth: The political demography of religious fundamentalism"

Eric Kaufmann argues that religious fundamentalism is poised to expand its influence in the West and Middle East, for demographic reasons. Demographic change--notably in the guise of migration and fertility--can alter the ethnic composition of a nation. Lebanon was once two-thirds Christian but is now barely a quarter Christian, for example. Less noticed, however, are the religious implications of demographic change: it alters the balance between seculars, moderates and fundamentalists within groups. Whereas inter-ethnic fertility differences fade over time, those between seculars and fundamentalists are widening or stable. The result, in a world moving toward eventual population decline, is a relative increase in fundamentalist influence. Israel is a paradigm case. In 1960, just a few percent of Jewish first-graders there studied in ultra-Orthodox schools. Today, a third are. Islamic and Christian fundamentalists have a more modest advantage, but over generations, this compounds into a revolutionary change. Today in the United States, around a third of white Protestants born in 1900 are members of conservative denominations, but almost two-thirds of those born in 1975 are. Finally, most immigrants to the west are religious and, for non-Christians, their ethnic difference helps insulate their religion from secular influences.


25 November 

Francesco Trebbi, University of British Columbia

Read the Dondena Interview here.

"The Dictator's Inner Circle"

We posit the problem of an autocrat who has to allocate access to the executive positions in his inner circle and define the career profile of his own insiders. Statically, granting access to an executive post to a more experienced subordinate increases political returns to the post, but is more threatening to the leader in case of a coup. Dynamically, the leader monitors the capacity of staging a coup by his subordinates, which grows over time, and the incentives of trading a subordinate's own position for a potential shot at the leadership, which defines the incentives of staging a palace coup for each member of the inner circle. We map these theoretical elements into structurally estimable hazard functions of terminations of cabinet ministers for a panel of post-colonial Sub-Saharan African countries. The hazard functions initially increase over time, indicating that most government insiders quickly wear out their welcome, and then drop once the minister is fully entrenched in the current regime. Hazard rates are higher in more powerful posts, which are more threatening to the leader, than junior posts and inexperienced leaders are constrained to employ only inexperienced ministers. We argue that the survival concerns of the leader in granting access to his inner circle can cover much ground in explaining the widespread lack of competence of African governments and the vast heterogeneity of political performance between and within these regimes.
















Last updated 03 March 2014 - 12:58:08