CSDP Introduces 2019-2020 Fellows

March 1, 2019

We are delighted to introduce next year's visiting fellows in the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. This twentieth cohort of CSDP fellows will be in residence through the 2019-2020 academic year. Please join us in welcoming them to Princeton in September.

Headshot Charlotte Cavaille

  Charlotte Cavaillé is an Assistant Professor at The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. In her research, Charlotte seeks to further our understanding of democratic politics’ effect on mitigating or enhancing market-driven economic inequality. More specifically, she focuses on the demand side of redistributive politics in post-industrial democracies, examining the dynamics of popular attitudes toward redistributive social polices at a time of rising inequality, fiscal stress and high immigration levels. In one of her more recent projects, she examines the relationship between immigration, the welfare state and the rise of populism. Through her work on policy preferences, she has become keenly aware of the ubiquity of "cheap talk" in surveys. In a set of working papers titled “Who Cares? Measuring Attitude Strength in a Polarized Environment," she and her co-authors test a new survey tool that not only measures the level of support for a given policy package, but also seeks to capture the proportion of people who care intensely enough to translate their policy position into political action.

During her time at the CSDP, Charlotte plans to finish a book manuscript titled Asking for More: Support for Redistribution in the Age of Inequality. In Asking for More, she explores why, in countries where inequality has increased the most, such as Great Britain and the United States, voters are not asking for more income redistribution. The book starts by documenting the limits of workhorse economic models that focus on material self-interest. Charlotte then develops an alternative framework which advances the study of mass redistributive preferences in two ways. First, it incorporate fairness judgments into the dominant material self-interest tradition. Second, this framework highlight the key role of political elites’ competitive struggle for power. The main insight, succinctly put, is that the public’s response to inequality cannot be understood independently of changes in the supply side of politics: within the boundaries set by norms of fairness, what political elites have to say about inequality and redistribution matters as much as the public’s personal experiences with material hardship and inequality. If time allows, Charlotte will also work on a new project exploring the determinants of voters' perceptions of fairness in the realm of redistributive politics. 

Headshot Chinbo Chong

  Chinbo Chong
will complete her PhD in American Politics at the University of Michigan in 2019. Her research addresses political behavior, public opinion, and political incorporation with an emphasis on race, ethnicity, and immigration, using survey and experimental methods. She was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Vice-Provost’s Diversity Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in 2018-2019, and received her B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010.

Chinbo’s dissertation is a study of the effectiveness of pan-ethnic (e.g., Asian American; Latino/Hispanic) and national origin (e.g., Chinese American; Mexican American) identity appeals on voter turnout, candidate evaluation, and civic participation among Latinos and Asian Americans. She explores when and to what extent pan-ethnic identity appeals mobilize Latinos and Asian Americans when a significant proportion of them prefer their national origin identities (e.g., Chinese American; Mexican American). She builds a theoretical argument that connects these varying identity appeals to key markers of the immigrant socialization, including: nativity status, length of residence in the U.S., immigrant generational status, English proficiency, and experiences with discrimination. Leveraging a series of randomized survey experiments, she finds mirroring and differential factors across Latinos and Asian Americans that speak to the unique paths to politicization of the two groups.

At CSDP, Chinbo plans to transform her dissertation into a book manuscript, tentatively titled Identity Appeals in the Age of Immigration: The Role of Panethnic and National Origin Elite Appeals on Latino and Asian American Political Behavior. Expanding on previous research, she will further investigate the responsiveness of panethnic and national origin identity appeals when the source of appeals varies by candidate’s race.

Headshot Jesse Crosson

  Jesse Crosson will receive his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan and join the faculty at Trinity University in 2019. His research agenda investigates why public policy changes when it does, and why it often fails to do so—even when many elites and citizens appear unsatisfied with the status quo. More specifically, his work traces how the rise of insecure majorities in Congress and state legislatures has encouraged legislative gridlock, influencing legislative parties and organization, interest group coalition-building, and investments in legislative capacity.

At CSDP, Jesse will focus on a book project, Polarized Pluralism, which documents the polarization of the interest group community since the 1980s. The project is coauthored with Alexander Furnas and Geoff Lorenz and builds upon the authors’ creation of IGscores, ideal points for over 2,600 interest groups in Washington. By developing a dynamic version of IGscores, Jesse and his coauthors aim to demonstrate how conflict extension among interest groups—fueled by partisan competition over majority control of Congress—has prevented groups from freely coalescing by issue area and instead sorted groups into partisan teams.


Headshot Melinda Ritchie

  Melinda (Molly) Ritchie is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside. Her research interests include American political institutions, U.S. Congress, bureaucratic politics, and the impact of separation of powers on policymaking. Her research has appeared or is forthcoming in Political Behavior, the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, and the American Journal of Political Science.

She was previously a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University. Her Ph.D. is from the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and she received a B.A. in Government from Smith College in 2006. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked in Washington, DC as a legislative assistant for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

While at CSDP, Molly will be completing her book project, Back-Channel Policymaking: Congress, the Bureaucracy, and Inter-Branch Representation. The central argument is that members of Congress strategically use informal, direct communication with administrative agencies in order to influence policy, allowing legislators to circumvent constraints within the legislative process and their constituencies. The book project includes analysis of thousands of interactions between members of Congress and federal agencies using an original data set constructed with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records.

Headshot Steven White

  Steven White is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Syracuse University. His research interests include race and American political development, particularly how major upheavals like war can reshape racial politics. His first book, World War II and American Racial Politics: Public Opinion, the Presidency, and Civil Rights Advocacy (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press), evaluates the heterogeneous effects of the Second World War on white racial attitudes and the executive branch response to civil rights advocacy, along with raising more general questions about the relationship between war and the incorporation of marginalized groups


Steven received his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 2014. Before arriving at Syracuse, he was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Government and Law at Lafayette College and a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions.   

While at CSDP, Steven will start a second book project, tentatively titled The Police as a Political Institution in American Politics. This new project examines how an account of the police as political actors—particularly police unions—presents several empirical and normative challenges to our understanding of American democracy. He will also continue working on a joint project with Pavithra Suryanarayan that examines slavery, democratization, and bureaucratic capacity in the southern states after the Civil War.