Carnegie Mellon University

IPS Research Talks

The IPS SAC has organized a series of monthly research talks by faculty in the Institute for Politics and Strategy.  The talks will enable students to learn about current research topics and methodologies used in the field of political science.  Students will have the opportunity to meet faculty outside of the classroom and learn about research assistant opportunities. Refreshments are provided at each talk.

Professor Dan Silverman

Dan Silverman

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Porter Hall 223D

Perceptions and Misperceptions in War:
Factual Beliefs about Conflict and their Consequences in Pakistan, Iraq, and Beyond


Why do civilians in warzones often hold widely divergent beliefs about the “facts on the ground” in the dispute – that is, about what is happening in the fighting? These factual beliefs are critically important, as people react not to what is happening but to what they think is happening in war. In this project, I build an original theory of factual beliefs in war, arguing that they hinge on two key factors: (1) the information civilians have about the violence, and (2) their psychological motivation when processing it. On this basis, I distinguish between two types or "layers" of civilian populations who think very differently based on their personal exposure to the fighting. I explore these claims with an original survey experiment in Pakistan and unique surveys of contemporary Iraq that include civilians who have experienced ISIL rule. Ultimately, the results suggest that factual misperceptions, propaganda, and "fake news" are endemic in war – as in peace – but that they can be punctured by high stakes and direct, personal exposure. ​​

Professor Ignacio Arana

Ignacio Arana

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Porter Hall 223D

Why Do Former First Ladies Run for Office?
A Comparative Analysis of Latin America, 1990-2016

Twenty former first ladies ran for the presidency, vice presidency or Congress between 1990 and 2016, but the scholarly literature has failed to analyze this phenomenon. We argue that former first ladies run for office when they have political experience and when the sociopolitical context offers them an opportunity to become competitive candidates. We analyze the 89 former first ladies who were available to run for office in 133 elections in 18 Latin American countries from 1990-2016. To test our argument, we conduct discrete-time duration models. The findings demonstrate that previous political experience is the primary factor that explains why former first ladies run for office. We also show that politically experienced women use the position strategically, as an electoral platform. ​

Professor Gio Altamirano Rayo

Gio Altamirano Rayo

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Porter Hall 223D

Securing Territory:
State Interests and the Implementation of Ethnic Property Rights in Nicaragua and Brazil

Gio Altamirano Rayo will present the result of twelve months of original, NSF-funded, research through the Amazon and Mosquitia regions in Central and South America on ethnic land titling. Contrary to conventional wisdom which points to transnational advocacy networks as drivers of ethnic land titling, she highlights the interests of state elites to secure people and territory as a crucial mediating factor that shapes observed titling patterns. She argues that central governments titles ethnic lands to reinforce state power over vast tracts of land and incorporate people in differentiated ways into the administrative domain of the modern state. She illustrates her argument with in-depth case studies of Nicaragua and Brazil.