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Thomas J. Hayes

Research Interests

Inequality, Participation, Elections, Representation, Race & Ethnicity, Political Psychology, Congress, Research Methodology.


Title: “The Representational Sources of Political Inequality”

Abstract: This dissertation investigates the sources of political inequality by examining different aspects of the American governmental system, specifically individuals (e.g. voters), institutions (e.g. Congress), and the interaction between the two (e.g. responsiveness). As the American government was set up to be a representative Democracy, the main focus is on the role of representation in the U.S. political system and the degree to which certain groups receive higher levels of responsiveness and other groups do not. Moreover, this dissertation answers three important questions related to inequality: How pervasive is political inequality? Does the public view inequality as a problem? What accounts for legislator bias toward different groups?

Committee: Benjamin Bishin (chair), Antoine Yoshinaka, John Cioffi

Cristina Nicolescu Waggonner

Comparative Politics and International Relations
Minor: American Politics

Dissertation Title:

Rule of Law: the Negative impact of Political Corruption on Political and Judicial Institutions

What are the obstacles in the establishment of rule of law in democratizing countries? I argue that political corruption has a causal negative effect on the establishment of rule of law. I find that political and judicial corruption makes the implementation and the enforcement of the laws practically impossible. The hypothesis is based on the assumption that in order to move from the transitional stage of democratization to the consolidation stage, characterized by the rule of law, a set of political reforms has to be implemented. Crucial reforms target the restructuring of the state apparatus and its accountability mechanisms, such as the separation of powers and an independent judiciary. This mixed methods dissertation consists of a two-case comparative study of two new democracies, Czech Republic and Romania, with different levels of corruption and rule of law, and several cross national tests in all new democracies around the world. The two-case comparison reveals the mechanisms through which corruption dismantles the accountability components and prevents the furthering of reforms to establish the rule of law. By using quantitative analyses of both aggregate measures and public opinion surveys, I show that this phenomenon is endemic around the world. This phenomenon sabotages the chances for successful democratic consolidation for all former authoritarian regimes that do not proceed with full reforms at the setup of the transition process. I show, using two stage least square regressions with one instrumental variable, that besides economic, cultural, and institutional factors, political corruption has a significant negative impact on the level of rule of law. I isolate the effect of corruption on the rule of law, fixing the problem of endogeneity. Previous research does not address this causal direction, particularly in cross-national studies. This dissertation makes both a theoretical contribution to the study of establishment of rule of law, by hypothesizing the negative impact of corruption on this process, and an empirical contribution by thoroughly testing the hypothesis within cases and cross-nationally.

Research Interests: Consolidation of Democracy, Establishment of Rule of Law, Globalization, European Union, Post-Communist World, Anti-corruption Policy

Teaching experience: I have designed and taught upper division Comparative Politics and IR courses such as ‘Globalization and Underdevelopment’,  ‘EU Government and Politics’, and ‘Nation State and Capitalism’. My teaching interests include lower and upper division courses including but not limited to ‘Democratization’, ‘Rule of law’, ‘Public Policy’, ‘International Organizations’, and ‘Conflict Resolution’.

Publications, Works under Review

"Militarizing against the United States: the Impact on the Human Rights Violations and the Need for Arms Control Regulation", in 9/11: Ten Years After, edited by Florin Diaconu, Romanian Diplomatic Institute – forthcoming September 2011

"The Negative Impact of Corruption on the Consolidation of Democracy", manuscript under review Comparative Political Studies

"Corruption in Europe: the Impact of EU 'political conditionality' on governance" (with Shaun Bowler), manuscript under review International Studies Quarterly

Email: cnico001@ucr.edu

Antonio Ugues, Jr. (Ph.D. expected 2012)


“A Comparative Analysis of Electoral Management Bodies in Central America”

This dissertation seeks to enhance our understanding of elections and electoral processes in developing democracies by examining the institutions responsible for the management of elections – electoral management bodies.  This study provides a comparative analysis of electoral management bodies in the Central American states that democratized during the third wave of democratization, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.  In so doing, this dissertation 1) explains the introduction of formally independent EMBs in each of these cases, 2) explains the development of autonomy and impartiality exhibited by each EMB, and 3) explains citizens’ level of trust in their respective EMB.  While this study will greatly contribute to the scholarly literature on elections and election management in developing democracies, it will also make a significant contribution to the policy community by identifying concrete areas in which to strengthen democracy.

Dissertation Committee: David S. Pion-Berlin (chair – political science), Shaun Bowler (political science), William T. Barndt (political science)

Subfields: Comparative Politics, International Relations

Specialization: Politics of Latin America, Elections and Election Management, Democracy and Democratization, Civil-Military Relations