Research Quick Take

Here at the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (COSSPP), our faculty have been quite busy! Here are some of the projects that our faculty have recently published.

“The Authoritarian Wager: Mass Political Action and the Sudden Collapse of Repression” by Dr. Kelly Matush

In her recent article, Dr. Matush develops a game-theoretic model that explores the incentives of authoritarians to repress or permit political contestation. She shows that rulers with the capacity to fully repress political action create despotic regimes, but rulers with more moderate capacity might opt to allow open contestation. The status quo bias that favors regime supporters weakens their incentive to defend it. Rulers take the authoritarian wager by abandoning preventive repression and allowing opposition that threatens the status quo. The resulting risk gives incentives to the supporters to defend the regime, increasing the rulers’ chances of political survival. Even moderate changes in the structural capacity to repress might result in drastic policy reversals involving repression.

“The Effect of Undergraduate Major Choices on the Earnings of Sub-Saharan African Immigrant and Native-Born College Graduates” by Dr. Ene Ikpebe

In her recent article, Dr. Ikpebe uses a pooled cross-section (2013–2018) from the American Community Survey to compare the distribution of undergraduate majors of sub-Saharan African immigrants and native-born college graduates. She finds that undergraduate major area of study is a significant predictor of earnings and that there is an overrepresentation of sub-Saharan African immigrants with high-paying undergraduate majors. However, after controlling for human capital differences, college-educated African immigrants have not achieved pay equity with their native-born counterparts. 

“More than a nuisance: measuring how sea level rise delays commuters in Miami, FL” by Dr. Matthew Hauer

In his recent article, Dr. Hauer examines how sea level rise increases coastal cities’ exposure to tidal flooding and elevates the risk of transportation routes being compromised at high tide. Using Miami, Florida as a case study, he combines tide gauge, elevation, road network, and worker location data with a route optimization algorithm to model how tidal flooding affected commute times between 2002–2004 and 2015–2017. Results suggest tidal flooding increases annual commutes by 15 min on average and 274 min among the most heavily impacted areas. Additionally, approximately 14 000 commuters may be unable to reach their workplace due to tidal flooding at least once per year. Accommodation via dynamic adjustments in residential and work locations may reduce tidal commuting delays by as much as 70%, particularly among the highest earners.

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