In a number of recent projects (see e.g here), I have been interested in the structure of the academic job market, how it is organised in different countries, and how it may shape the ideas that it produces (see here for a comparison of economists in the US and Germany). Something that we highlight in the latter paper is how concentrated and hierarchical the field of US economists is compared to Europe. Most top US economists are affiliated with a pretty small number of elite universities (Harvard, MIT, etc.). Is it different for other disciplines, for instance in political science? My hunch was that it isn’t.
I have just come across this paper by Kim and Grofman published in January 2019 on the “Political Science 400”, looking at the top-cited political scientists currently employed in US universities. The online appendix has some interesting data on these 400 top US political scientists, especially where they work now and where (and when) they got their PhD. This can give some interesting insights into the structure and hierarchies in US political science.
In the graph below, I have used this data to build a network of universities where each arrow represents a flow of political scientists in the top 400 linking the institution where they obtained their PhD (the source) and the institution where they worked in 2017 (the target). The size of the nodes represents the out-degree (the number of individuals who got their PhD from that institution) and the size of the arrows represents the number of academics
What does the data show? First, we can see a “core” of prestigious universities who are fairly closely connected with each other: Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, Columbia, University of Chigago, Yale. In fact the top-5 granting institutions alone (Harvard, Berkeley, Michigan, Yale and Stanford) account for 40% of all the political scientists in the top-400. Harvard alone supplies 49 of the 400 top political scientists. The structures that comes out is indeed hierarchical: the “inner circle” of universities at the top mostly recruit from within the top-circle, other universities outside the circle recruit from the top, but there is fairly little “upward” mobility: few top universities recruit people from outside the top circle. Finally, access to the upper tier of US political science (and probably the whole field) is not very open to academics with a foreign PhD: only 22 (5.5%) of the top-400 have a PhD from a foreign institution.
In my course on Global Challenges, I ask students to submit a policy podcast. Here are the guidelines that I give to students, and an example of what students have done.
Purpose of the assignment
The purpose of this assignment is for you to demonstrate the ability to use the theoretical tools provided in the course by a) analysing a concrete global challenge, and b) formulating policy proposals drawing on the theories discussed in the module. We ask you to put together a policy proposal podcast dealing with one out of three policy problems. You are expected to carry out some level of research on the problem at hand and collect the relevant data, analyse the causes of the problem, and formulate policy proposals to deal with the problem, by drawing on the lectures, the seminar discussions, and the readings of the module. The policy proposals should be grounded in the theories discussed in the module, but the language should be directed to a lay, informed audience.
Three policy problems
You need to answer one of the following three questions:
1. Recently, the Italian government had decided to refuse entry to boats crossing the Mediterranean with migrants. How could we imagine a system where migrants seeking asylum are allocated fairly across European countries, in a way that is accepted by local citizens?
2. Donald Trump has announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accords signed in 2015. What kind of mechanism should we adopt so that large economies accept to reduce their carbon emissions?
3. How should we address the backlash against democracy and democratic norms in many parts of the world, including Europe?
You are asked to submit 1 audio file and the script of your audio.
Your audio podcast should contain the following sections:
(1) an introduction presenting the problem
(2) an analysis of the problem which makes use of frameworks discussed in the module,
(3) a policy recommendation proposing concrete measures to solve this problem, and a discussion of the main alternatives,
(4) a brief analysis of the pros/cons of the measure proposed
(5) a conclusion/opening
The podcast should be last no more than 10 minutes. This should correspond to ca. 1800 words of script (https://www.thevoicerealm.com/count-script.php)
Data and evidence
Someone reading your script should know your sources of data (literature or people) and the alternatives you considered as well as your final recommendation. However, you do not need to reference explicitly in spoken word. The reader should also learn enough about how you did your work to make an informed judgment on how seriously to take its recommendations. Ask yourself “Is this credible?” “Why would they take my advice seriously?” This also relates to the use of sources: make sure that you use reputable sources. While there is a wealth of information on blogs and websites, a policy recommendation relying only on this type of sources may not appear totally reliable.
The podcast should be written in the style of a real piece of policy advice designed to influence a (busy) policy-maker, so it should be clear, concrete and to the point, but without jargon.
The assignments will be assessed by drawing on the elements in the table below. Use concise, clear language. Note that writing for the document should be readable, so please keep margins and font sizes reasonable. Make sure that the document has a narrative flow: the policy analysis tells a story, and should not just be a shopping list of points under a series of headings. This should be something that a policy-maker can read and understand fairly easily, and which will aid him/her in the decision-making process. In the real world, overly dense, jargon-filled, poorly researched, sloppily written and badly presented documents would be handed right back to you to be fixed (at best).
- Clarity, coherence and feasibility of policy proposal
- Link to concepts & issues handled in class
- Creativity (effort to make podcast interesting, fun, entertaining; evidence of creative thinking)
- Format & Quality (delivery)
A note on the format
You are allowed to use music or effects in the podcast, but you do not have to. You will not be assessed on the technical aspects of the podcast as such (audio quality, etc), but making it exciting and interesting will enhance the appeal of your policy proposal.
Resources for making podcasts & examples
- Nuts and Bolts of making podcasts
- How to start a podcast completely for free
- How to write script for podcasts
- One way to understand the rationale for the policy podcast: it is an audio version of a Ted Talk. Here are two podcasts/talk dealing with the universal basic income:
- Rutger Bregman: Why we should give everyone a basic income
- Institute of Economic Affairs: Is a basic income a good idea?
- How to edit a podcast with audacity
- Some tricks to get better audio (you do not need to use a microphone to make a good podcast, but in general try to record as close to the sound source as possible; the microphone of your headphones is probably better than the one of your phone lying on a table.
- Podcast from previous years
Forthcoming in Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (access article)
Why did some European countries choose migrant labour to expand their labour force in the decades that followed World War II, while others opted for measures to expand female employment via welfare expansion? The paper argues that gender norms and left power resources were important structuring factors in these choices. Female employment required a substantial expansion of state intervention (e.g childcare; paid maternity leave). Meanwhile, migrant recruitment required minimal public investments, at least in the short term, and preserved traditional gender roles. Using the contrasting cases of Sweden and Switzerland, I argue that the combination of a weak left (labour unions and social-democratic parties) and conservative gender norms fostered the massive expansion of foreign labour and a late development of female labour force participation in Switzerland. In contrast, more progressive gender norms and a strong labour movement put an early end to guest worker programs in Sweden, and paved the way for policies to promote female labour force participation.
Keywords: labour migration; female employment; Sweden; Switzerland; comparative public policy
The Institute of Public Administration of the Faculty Governance and Global Affairs – Leiden University invites applications for
PhD positions with a particular focus on the relationship between social protection and immigration control (Vidi-Project “The Borders of Equality”) (2 positions of 1.0 FTE)
Vacancy number 18-332
The PhD candidates will work in the project “Borders of Equality: welfare states and immigration policies in comparative and historical perspective”. This project is funded by a large-scale research grant (Vidi) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research awarded to Dr Alexandre Afonso (Principal Investigator). The project analyses the relationship between the evolution of welfare states and labour migration policies in Western Europe between 1870 and now.
The project addresses the following questions: do countries with larger welfare states also enforce stricter immigration policies? When do governments enforce stricter migration policies but provide equal access to welfare for migrants (closure with equality), and when do they enforce liberal immigration policies but restrict their rights to welfare (openness with segmentation)? The project adopts a comparative and historical approach, using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. It draws on longitudinal case studies going back to the late 19th century and the origins of both welfare states and migration control. It combines this with a quantitative analysis of policies across OECD countries, and focusses on different policy levels (countries and welfare programmes). More information on the project can be found at https://alexandreafonso.me/the-borders-of-equality-project/.
Each PhD student will seek to answer one of two distinct research questions
1) Do different types of welfare states generate different incentives for governments to restrict immigration? (PhD candidate 1).
2) Why are some welfare programmes (pensions, social assistance, unemployment, health) more closed or more open to immigrants? (PhD candidate 2).
This project will be based in the Institute of Public Administration in the center of The Hague (Wijnhaven).
- Conduct original research and complete a PhD-thesis in the thematic framework of the wider project;
- Contribute to data collection and analysis for the wider project team, in particular: analyse archives and other written sources; build datasets, and conduct interviews in 4 countries (United Kingdom; Germany; France; Sweden);
- Participate in national and international academic research networks;
- Present research results at national and international conferences;
- Publish in international academic journals, both individually and together with the colleagues from the Vidi-project team;
- Actively disseminate research findings to key stakeholders and the public via seminars, blogs, vulgarization articles and social media;
- Perform a limited set of teaching and supervision tasks within the Institute of Public Administration.
- Candidates must hold a Master or equivalent degree in public administration, political science, economics, sociology, history or another relevant field in the social sciences (candidates who will complete their degree before October 2018 will also be considered);
- We particularly encourage applications from candidates with a substantive interest (and research experience) in comparative political economy, public policy, immigration and the welfare state;
- Excellent qualitative and/or quantitative methodological skills;
- An excellent command of spoken and written English (command of the Dutch language is not a prerequisite for applying); fluency in French, German and/or Swedish is a plus;
- Capacity and willingness to collaborate in a motivated research team.
The Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs offers academic education in the field of Public Administration, Safety and Security, and International Relations, as well as in-depth post-academic programmes for professionals. In addition, the Faculty is also home to the Leiden University College. For more information, see http://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/governance-and-global-affairs.
The Institute of Public Administration is one of the largest and oldest institutes of academic research and teaching in the field of public administration and public policy in the Netherlands. The institute combines a solid international academic reputation with a central positioning among the international, national, regional and local governance institutions of The Hague. The Institute of Public Administration has consistently received high ratings in peer reviews of both its teaching and research programs. The Institute offers a Dutch-language Bachelor program with two tracks, a Dutch-language Master Program in Public Sector Management, and English-language Master programs in ‘Public Administration’. The Institute of Public Administration is located in the center of The Hague. Information about the Institute can be found at http://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/governance-and-global-affairs/institute-of-public-administration. Information about Dr Alexandre Afonso and the Borders of Equality project is available at www.alexandreafonso.me.
Terms and conditions
These are 4-year fixed-term positions. We offer a fixed-term post for a period of one year with an extension of 3 years after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility. Ultimately the appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis. The gross salary ranges from €2,266 per month in the first year up to €2,897 in year 4 (Pay Scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.
All our PhD candidates are embedded in the graduate school of the Netherlands Institute of Government (http://www.utwente.nl/nig/training/). The graduate school offers a combination of courses and tutorials, which aim at increasing disciplinary knowledge and methodology. The project in which the positions are embedded can also fund further methodological training.
Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.
The PhD theses will be supervised by Dr Alexandre Afonso in collaboration with Professor Olaf van Vliet. If you have any enquiries about the position or the application procedure, please contact Dr. Alexandre Afonso at email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications should include
- A motivation letter indicating a preference for one of the two research questions.
- A CV;
- A grade report;
- 2 writing samples in English (MA thesis, term paper or publication);
- The names and email addresses of two referees (who may be contacted during the selection process).
Applications must be received no later than 15 September 2018 and can be sent by email to our Personnel Department at PenOvacatures@FGGA.leidenuniv.nl with vacancy number in the subject.
The graph above represents a network of countries qualified for the World Cup 2018 and football leagues where players play. To draw it, I have used the official list of the 738 players qualified, and used it to draw a two-mode network where the countries they play for are the source, and the leagues where they play are the targets. Nodes are sized by the total number of players playing in each league, and each arrow indicates the number of players from each country playing in each league (you can click to get a bigger version). Not that many surprises here: The English premier League is the largest supplier with 124 players (almost 17 percent of all players!), followed by the Spanish Liga (81), the Bundesliga (67) and the Serie A (58, in spite of the fact that Italy is not qualified).
Data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey 2018 has just been released. I have made the graph above using the data and using the usual two axes: left-right on the economy, and liberal/authoritarian.