Stephen Chaudoin
Assistant Professor
Stephen Chaudoin
Office CGIS Knafel, Room 422
Phone +1 678 637 8392
Address   Department of Government
Harvard University
CGIS Knafel Building 422
Cambridge, MA  02138
About Me

  • In the fall of 2018, I joined the Department of Government at Harvard University. I received my PhD from the Princeton University Department of Politics in the Spring of 2012. From the Fall of 2012 to the Spring of 2014, I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Political Science, and then was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois from 2014-2018.
  • I am interested in international institutions, international political economy, and formal and quantitative methods. My research contributes to questions of how international institutions affect member state behavior. Existing theories focus on domestic enforcement mechanisms associated with international cooperation. My theoretical work examines how the preferences, political strength, and strategic behavior of domestic actors facilitate and constrain domestic enforcement mechanisms. My empirical work has tested these theories in settings ranging from international trade and the WTO to war crimes and the ICC as well as environmental contexts.
Curriculum Vita

Peer-reviewed Publications

Working Papers

  • Public Reactions to International Legal Institutions: The ICC in a Developing Democracy with Terrence Chapman (Revise and resubmit at Journal of Politics). Appendix.

    Media coverage: The Monkey Cage, Washington Post

    We analyze factors that temper citizens' support for international legal actions. We argue that support is moderated by a citizen's "proximity" to the institutional action, which for institutions like the International Criminal Court (ICC) means that both perpetrators and victims of violations can be hesitant about the institution. We use survey experiment about the ICC in Kyrgyzstan - a country with recent, salient civil violence. The survey randomly assigned respondents to a control group, asked about foreign investigations, and a treatment group, asked about an investigation into Kyrgyz violence. Treatment significantly lowered otherwise relatively high approval for investigations. This effect was strongest in regions most proximate to the violence, especially among co-ethnics of victims of civil violence. Awareness of the court did not moderate negative reactions, while support for the government magnified the negative reactions. Our findings help explain why support for international law is often ephemeral and heterogeneous among citizens.

  • Survey Design for Mediation Analysis with Avital Livny and Brain Gaines (Under review).

    Causal mediation analysis (CMA) requires measurement of an outcome with and without some treatment, plus a set of possible mediator variables. There is no consensus on whether survey-based studies should measure potentially mediating variables before or after the outcome variable(s). We show that order can be consequential, and demonstrate, by a replication example, how substantive conclusions can depend on questionnaire design. Best practice, we think, depends on details of the study, so that there is no one-size-fits-all conclusion about optimal survey design for valid CMA. But randomizing order will often be prudent.

Research In Progress

  • International Law in Real Time: Patterns of Violence and Public Opinion in the Philippines' War on Drugs (Presented at MPSA 2017, Princeton Conference on Pressure Groups 2017, ISA 2018).

    Media coverage: The Policy Space, University of Canberra

    I collect and analyze data on the location and timing of killings in the war on drugs currently taking place in the Philippines. I compare various explanations for these patterns and assess the degree to which international law and the International Criminal Court have affected the magnitude of violence. The data come from a wide array of sources, including every Tweet about the Philippines, President Duterte, and the war on drugs, a large corpus of international and domestic media articles, and websites that tracked the killings day-by-day. I also combine this information with extensive public opinion polls. The overall goal is to have a very fine grained record of how battles between politicians, NGOs, international legal bodies and activists unfold "in real time."

  • Election and Selection in the Lab with Sarah Hummel and Yon Soo Park (Presented at MPSA 2017, NSF Grant Application Summer 2017).

    Elections are a moderating process that stands between features of the population and the policies that are eventually chosen by elected officials. There are many links in the chain between the population and the eventual policy chosen: a citizen must choose to run; she must be elected; and then she must choose particular policies once she holds office. In a laboratory setting, we assess how elected representatives play intergroup competition and public goods provision games. Intergroup games of cooperation/public goods provision and also competition/contestation are the bedrocks of many interactions studied in International Relations, and American and Comparative politics. We compare the effects of different mechanisms, some more democratic than others, on who runs for the position of leader, who wins those elections, and how their behavior compares to that of unelected representative players. While existing literature has focused on the effects of elections on graft and equality, we show its effects on intergroup public goods provision - where we expect elections to have potentially positive effects - and on intergroup contestation in a competitive game - where elections may have negative effects. We contrast these effects with those from more autocratic or non-democratic selection mechanisms, such as pre-electoral contests or competitions among potential representatives of the same team.

  • Assessing the Exogeneity of Instrumental Variables in IR Research with Sascha Riaz.

    We conduct a large scale replication exercise to reproduce results from extant international relations research that use instrumental variables (IV). Most existing uses of IV focus almost exclusively on an exclusion restriction assumption. Yet, an equally important assumption concerns the degree to which instruments are correlated with observables that also affect outcomes, an independence assumption. We document the degree to which existing applications uphold this assumption and describe sensitivity testing approaches that can circumscribe inferences in the presence of violations of the independence assumption.

  • Trading Arguments with Dustin Tingley.

    We use a novel online platform for organized structured debates to assess two questions: (1) what arguments for and against free trade inform citizen's opinions on free trade and (2) can debating an issue decrease the polarization of opinion surrounding that issue? We find initial evidence that participating in a debate lowers the prevalence of extreme opinions about trade and weakens the relationship between political ideology and trade preferences. Our approach shows a new way to detect facets of opinions around foreign (or domestic) policies.

  • Revolutionizing Teaching and Research with a Structured Debate Platform with Jacob Shapiro and Dustin Tingley.

    We describe the possibilities for a new, structured debate platform called Kialo for creating new research opportunities into pressing questions regarding persuasion, messaging, and the interaction of motivated speakers. We also describe how this platform can create new possibilities in the classroom.

  • Political Contestation and Firm Behavior in Response to WTO Disputes with Raymond Hicks (Presented at IPES 2014, MPSA 2015, APSA 2015).

    We develop a theoretical model where international institutions, such as the WTO, can influence contests between domestic actors with divergent preferences over policies. A large body of literature argues that international institutions facilitate compliance by mobilizing pro-compliance domestic actors. This paper builds on those theories by incorporating the effect of institutions on both pro- and anti-compliance actors. The theoretical model yields empirically testable predictions about the effect of institutional actions on the effort exerted by opposing actors in the ensuing contest and the likely outcome of the contest. In the context of WTO disputes, different firms support or oppose the removal of restrictions to trade. They can exert effort via campaign contributions and lobbying to influence policy. We assess the model's predictions using a new dataset which uses Bill of Lading data to identify firms who support and oppose protectionist policies at the product level. We link these data with firm level data on political contributions as a measure of effort. We show how, consistent with the theoretical prediction, the ex ante relative balance between firms moderates their response to external shocks like WTO disputes.

Spring, 2018GOV 40 - Introduction to International RelationsUndergraduate, Harvard University
Fall, 2018GOV 3007 - Political Economy WorkshopGraduate, Harvard University
Spring, 2017PS 598 - Human RightsGraduate, University of Illinois
Fall, 2017PS 280 - Introduction to International RelationsUndergraduate, University of Illinois
Spring, 2017PS 280 - Introduction to International RelationsUndergraduate, University of Illinois
Fall, 2016PS 596 - International Political Economy Syllabus Graduate, University of Illinois
Fall/Spring, 2016PS 590 - Critical Evaluation of New Research in PS Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
Fall, 2016PS 280 - Introduction to International Relations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
Spring, 2016PS 280 - Introduction to International Relations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
Spring, 2016PS 392 - International Organizations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
Fall, 2015PS 398 - Strategy in International Relations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
Spring, 2015PS 398 - Strategy in International RelationsUndergraduate, University of Illinois
Fall, 2014PS 582 - International Political EconomyGraduate, University of Illinois
Spring, 2014PS 2703 - Formal Political Theory I Syllabus Graduate, University of Pittsburgh
Spring, 2014PS 1514 - Political Strategy in International RelationsUndergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
Fall, 2013PS 1581 - Capstone Seminar, International Courts Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
Fall, 2013PS 1503 - International OrganizationsUndergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
Spring, 2013PS 1514 - Political Strategy in International Relations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
Spring, 2013PS 1503 - International Organizations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
Fall, 2012PS 1503 - International Organizations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
Spring, 2011POL 250 - Intro. to Game TheoryPreceptor for Prof. John Londregan, Princeton University
Spring, 2010POL 250 - Intro. to Game TheoryPreceptor for Prof. Adam Meirowitz, Princeton University
Fall, 2010POL 571 - Quantitative Methods I (Graduate)Preceptor for Prof. John Londregan, Princeton University

Other Publications

Dissertation Research

  • Abstract: A large body of literature with a lengthy history argues that international institutions facilitate cooperation by providing information. Cooperation among nations is difficult without credible punishment for defectors, and information is key to detecting the occurrence and severity of those defections. Domestic audiences are thought to be a key source of punishment. This dissertation explains how variation in the preferences and political strength of domestic audiences condition the informational role of institutions. I develop a theory that shows how audience preferences and strength affect how audiences react to information about defections, how their reaction, in turn, affects member states' strategic decision over whether to transmit information, and how policymakers choose whether to cooperate in the shadow of potential punishment. I demonstrate this theory with evidence at both the macro and micro levels, both observational and experimental. At the macro level, I show how audience preferences and political strength affect the timing of World Trade Organization disputes against the United States. At the micro level, I conduct an original survey experiment that shows how audience preferences moderate the degree to which audiences punish defections. Taken together, the theory and empirical analysis advance our understanding of the promise and limitations of international institutions and agreements as independent forces for cooperation.

  • My dissertation committee members were: Helen Milner (chair), Christina Davis, Robert Keohane, and John Londregan.
  • My full dissertation is available here: (.pdf) .

Harvard University, Department of Government