George Ofosu, Kristen Kao, and Jonathan Collins Receive American Political Science Association Awards

Over the summer, three of our recent PhD graduates received national distinctions awarded by the American Political Science Association.

George Ofosu (UCLA PhD 2017), Assistant Professor in Comparative Politics, Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science, received the American Political Science Association’s 2020 Heinz Eulau Award, awarded annually for the best article published in the American Political Science Review during the previous calendar year.  The article, “Do Fairer Elections Increase the Responsiveness of Politicians?”, finds that incumbents elected from constituencies that were randomly assigned to intensive election-day monitoring during Ghana’s 2012 election spent 19 percentage points more on public infrastructure and public good delivery during their terms in office.  Tests of causal mechanisms suggest that fairer elections motivate high performance through incumbents’ expectations of electoral sanction.

Kristen Kao (UCLA PhD 2015), Senior Research Fellow, The Program on Governance and Local Development, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, recently received, jointly with Mara R. Revkin, the Franklin L. Burdette/Pi Sigma Alpha Award for the best paper presented at the 2019 Annual American Political Science Association meeting.  Their paper, entitled “Retribution or Reconciliation?  Attitudes Toward Rebel Collaborators in Iraq,” uses a survey experiment conducted in the Iraqi city of Mosul to find that social identity is a weak determinant of preferences for punishment and forgiveness, and that exposure to violence does not seem to drive a desire for revenge.  Instead, the perceived volition behind an act is important, although its effect varies depending on the type of collaboration.  Their paper offers uniquely fine-grained data and insights into the factors that shape perceptions of individual rebel culpability.

Jonathan Collins (UCLA PhD 2017), Assistant Professor of Education at Brown University, received the Susan Clarke Young Scholar Award.  The award, presented by the American Political Science Association, recognizes junior scholars who have completed their PhD within the last three years (or are ABDs) and submitted a paper proposal for the 2020 APSA meeting.  Award winners were selected through a review of publication records, their focus and breadth of work in the urban and local politics field, and their overall record of activity.  Jonathan officially received the award on September 11, 2020.