School of Politics and Economics Newsletter
|The SPE Newsletter
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| FROM THE DEAN'S DESK
I hope you had a great summer – ours has gone by quickly. It seems like a few weeks ago that we finished with spring exams, but orientation for new students was Friday, August 31st and classes started last week. We have a strong incoming class again for both economics and politics. We also continue to attract growing numbers of students to our innovative joint PhD in politics and economics; indeed this has become one of our largest areas of student concentration.
Besides relaxing at the beach as much as I could this summer and working on research projects (often with our graduate students), we have continued to refine our strategic plan in SPE. President Klitgaard has really helped to energize CGU and we are discussing the development of innovative cross-programs that suggest exciting new possibilities, while we continue to try to excel at our traditional endeavors.
Major parts of our strategy include increasing cooperation with faculty from the Claremont Colleges consortium and increased emphasis on innovative professional master’s degree programs that take advantage of our skills relevant to analyzing real world issues and will help to provide a stronger revenue base for our PhD programs. Our new joint master’s degree program with the Drucker-Ito School of Management (Master of Arts in Politics, Economics and Business) is off to a good start and we are exploring the possibility of developing a second joint program with Drucker that focuses on global commerce and finance. We have also initiated a new joint master’s degree program with the School of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (Master of Arts in Public Policy and Evaluation). We have continued strategic planning discussions charting the direction of our School for the next few years.
NEUROECONOMICS RESEARCH FUNDED
We were very excited this summer to announce that Paul Zak, SPE Economics faculty and Director of the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, was awarded a $1.5 million dollar grant from the Templeton Foundation to support a three-year study of, “Oxytocin and the Neurobiology of Human Virtues: Resilience, Generosity, and Compassion.” The funding was one of the largest grants this year at Claremont Graduate University. The central questions to be addressed include: Are human virtues such as altruism and generosity physiologically measurable? Do they have a biological basis? Can we find ways to apply knowledge about these biological foundations to improvements in the human condition? Other techniques to be used include functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), measurements of hormone release, genetic analyses, and exogenous hormone infusion. The experiments also include psychological tests for character traits, spiritual beliefs, and happiness.
These experiments are designed to provide novel and convincing scientific evidence about the brain activity that supports virtuous behaviors. In addition to a stream of scientific papers and monographs, Professor Zak is planning a popular book and other means of conveying his findings to the general public.
NEW FACULTY SEARCHES IN SPE
Coming out of the strategic planning process, we have been authorized to proceed with three (3) tenure-track faculty searches. Ads have already been posted in various employment publications and websites. They are tenure-track faculty positions in Public Policy, International Political Economy and Comparative Politics. Please notify any of your colleagues who might be interested in applying. For full details, they can look online at the CGU website at: http://www.cgu.edu/pages/2085.asp
NEW DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT APPOINTED
I am pleased to report that SPE has a new Director of Development. Karen May comes to the Advancement Office after over a dozen years working in economic development policy, venture capital, and business consulting. Her development experience includes major fundraising for a national nonprofit she founded, securing investors for several venture capital funds that she designed, and fundraising advance work for Cesar Chavez. While based in Chicago she completed development projects, and wrote legislation and briefings in regional and national policy arenas for clients such as then-State Senator Barack Obama, several gubernatorial campaigns, and White House policy memos. Prior to returning to Claremont to pursue an Interfield PhD in SPE, she received an M.S. in Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University Graduate School of Business. Karen also has a history in Claremont, where she earned her B.A. with honors from Pomona College in 1989. I’m delighted that we were able to get her to take a partial time out from her dissertation research and help us out. She’s already come up with a number of great ideas and I am confident you will enjoy working with her. Welcome Karen, to the SPE family!
Mark Abdollahian, Clinical Professor in SPE had a very busy summer managing two data collection efforts and five articles; two for conferences and three for publication. His first project finalized a subnational level data set on government expenditures in China with his research assistant, Rita Chiang (Econ grad student) and recent Politics PhD graduate, Kristin Johnson. This work is for an upcoming series of papers exploring the impact of politics on Chinese subnational growth & business climate. Along similar lines, the second data project focuses on public expenditures at a cross-national level.
He has been invited by the US Government agency, DARPA, to contribute a chapter in an edited volume on quantitative computational modeling for the 21st century which will be completed this fall with publication scheduled for next summer.
He is also working on a study, “The Politics of Governance Reform,” with Dr. Barbara Nunberg from the World Bank. This focuses on the impact that risk mitigation strategies derived from agent based models can have in specific development contexts. A paper with Carole Alsharabati (CGU Alum) Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Saint Joseph, Beirut, is investigating new solution concepts for multidimensional, multilateral bargaining. A fourth paper, with Dr. Mike Baranick of the National War College and two SPE students, Brice Nicholson and Matt Nickens, specifies a dynamic model of stabilization and reconstruction operations in 11 countries, including Iraq, since 1945.
Jennifer Merolla and Scott Waller, a PhD student in political science, have co-authored with Jean Schroedel on one of the chapters from her research on “The Christian Conservative Movement and American Democracy.” Merolla presented papers, coauthored with PhD political science students, Mirya Holman and Travis Coan, at the Annual Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology in Portland, Oregon. She also spent several weeks in Mexico City, working on a project analyzing the impact of crises on support for democratic institutions.
This summer, Jacek Kugler along with colleagues/CGU alums, Mark Abdollahian, SPE Clinical Professor, Siddarth Swaminathan, Assistant Professor at La Sierra University and John Thomas, Dean of the School of Business, La Sierra University, did collaborative research on power transitions in Asia. Some of his first work from the TransPacific Project was presented at Indiana University’s Systemic Transitions Conference in May.
In late spring, Jean Schroedel was one of the principal organizers of a major Russell Sage Foundation conference, “The Christian Conservative Movement and American Democracy,” that brought together more than two dozen historians, political scientists, sociologists, legal researchers, and religion scholars. She spent the remainder of the summer helping to edit the conference papers, which will be published as part of a two-volume RSF collection.
In July, Michael Uhlmann, Clinical Professor in SPE led a two week long seminar entitled “The Art and Architecture of the American Founding and the Nation’s Capital.” This NEH funded course for high school history teachers focused on dominant republican themes in the writing and art of the founding era.
Tom Willett completed a paper for a major conference on the frontiers of central banking held in Budapest at the Central Bank of Hungary entitled, “Exchange Rates, Capital Flows, and Central Bank Independence.” His co-authors were two recent Economics PhDs, Eric Chiu and Sirathorn Dechsakulthorn, and a recent SPE visiting scholar, Stefanie Walter, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He also had several papers co-authored with current and former graduate students presented at the annual meetings of the Asia Pacific Economics Association and the Western Economics Association.
Paul Zak continues to give numerous talks on his neuroeconomics research including recent engagements at the Institute of Humane Studies, the Rand Summer Institute, and meetings of the American Psychiatric Association. His edited book on Moral Markets: the Critical Role of Values in the Economy, will be published by Princeton University Press, in February, 2008.
Professor Graham Bird of the University of Surrey, has been visiting Claremont this summer, teaching a course on international finance and developing nations. I am also pleased to report that Professor Vivek Moorthy of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore will visit with us again this fall and teach a course on global financial markets. Earlier this month, a member of our extended family – Professor Kwanho Shin of Korea University – came through Claremont and gave a well-attended seminar on a paper on exchange rates and international risk sharing that he has coauthored with CMC Dean Greg Hess. Kwanho was a visiting professor at CMC with our Claremont Asian Political Economy project.
Sallama Shaker, Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to Egypt, continues to be with us for another year as a Visiting Professor in the School of Religion. Dr. Shaker was the first woman diplomat in the history of the Ministry to be appointed as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs for Egyptian -American and Latin American Affairs (19942000; 2006). She will be teaching two courses at CGU in the fall semester, Power, Religion, Gender and Violence is being taught under SOR and Identity Crisis in the Middle East and Conflict Resolution under SPE.
AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING – CHICAGO, IL
The annual meetings of the American Political Science Association was held August 31-September 2 in Chicago. Faculty and students attended and at the same time faculty were able to recruit for the three faculty positions we have open. Jennifer Merolla presented three papers that dealt with different aspects of public opinion and voting. Hal Nelson presented his paper, “Turf War or Bureaucratic Oversight? Agency Performance and the Implementation of EU Directives in the UK,” which examines the effectiveness of the European Union’s emissions trading scheme in limiting greenhouse gases.
At the annual meetings of the Western Economic Association held in Seattle, Washington in July, we had participation from the largest number of CGU alums that Art Denzau, Associate Dean in SPE and I can remember. We also had plenty of faculty and PhD students present papers and serve as discussants. Many of the presentations were papers from our project on the measurement of international economic policies and interactions.
We also organized two sessions at the annual meetings of the Asia Pacific Economic Association in Hong Kong. Participants included Claremont faculty, graduate students and alums, as well as leading scholars from Asia, Europe, and the US. SPE Alum Ramkishen Rajan was the prime organizer of the Bologna – Claremont, Singapore international monetary conference held in Singapore. He will be at work soon editing the conference volume.
We have in the works a stimulating set of talks and workshops for the fall that will be open to friends and alums of SPE. We will be starting off the semester with our Tuesday Talk Lunch Series, which you will find listed on the SPE website at http://www.cgu.edu/pages/5050.asp co-organized with our student executive committee.
It will feature a panel discussion on the current credit crisis.
On October 12th and 13th we will be having a workshop on political economy indicators which will feature the contributions of a number of SPE researchers. It is built around drafts of a book to be published by Palgrave edited by alum King Banaian. Topics to be covered will include the measurement of corruption, central bank independence, trade policies, the strength of government trade policies, and international financial integration. There will also be a panel discussion on issues of governance and corruption in developing countries featuring CGU President Robert Klitgaard, a leading expert in this area.
The Center for Neuroeconomics Studies has two (2) events scheduled in the month of October: A lecture presentation to be held October 16th co-sponsored with the Financial Economics Institute, Claremont McKenna College, featuring Richard Peterson, MD at the Athaneum entitled “Inside the Investor’s Brain.,” and a half-day seminar being co-hosted with the School of Religion in Albrecht Auditorium on October 25th entitled “Forgiveness, Sacrifice and Generosity.” Professor Mike McCullough, University of Miami and Professor Paul Zak will be the speakers. The event will be held from 1:00 – 5:30 pm to be followed by a reception at the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies located at 1257 N. Dartmouth on the CGU campus.
The School of Politics and Economics is pleased to announce a lecture presentation on Wednesday, November 14th by Dr. Michael Hertel, Chairman of SPE’s Board of Visitors and Director of Environmental Affairs at Southern California Edison entitled “If California Leads, Will Any body Follow: Issues on Energy and Environmental Policy,” the location to be announced.
For more information on upcoming events and other seminars, please visit our new “Announcements” section on the homepage of the SPE website at http://www.cgu.edu/pages/172.asp.