Stephen Chaudoin [Picture]
Office 414 David Kinley Hall
Phone 678 637 8392
Address   Department of Political Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
420 David Kinley Hall
Urbana, IL  61801
About Me

  • Since the Fall of 2014, I have been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois. I am interested in international institutions, international political economy, and formal and quantitative methods. 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 had the honor of being an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Political Science.
  • 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 AJPS). 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.

  • Interdependence, Networks, and Public Preferences Over Financial Regulations with Meredith Wilf (Revise and Resubmit Foreign Policy Analysis).

    A mature body of literature considers whether citizens evaluate economic policies based on the policy's direct effects on personal or national welfare. Yet for many regulatory policies, like financial regulations, the direct effects are less clear. And indirect effects, such as as policy's interdependent effect on reciprocal foreign policies or on the global economic network as a whole, are often equally or more important than direct effects. We use a survey experiment to assess whether citizens' preferences over financial regulations respond to arguments and logics based on direct, interdependent, and network effects of a policy. We find that arguments based on network effects often have stronger influence on preferences than arguments based on direct effects. However, arguments based on interdependence do not resonate as consistently on citizens' beliefs. We further identify theoretical sources of heterogeneity among citizens in their likelihood of responding to each logic. A citizen's degree of ``folk realism'' likely moderates the degree to which they believe in the links of the causal chain established by arguments not based on direct effects. Their degree of ethnocentrism also likely moderates the degree to which they care about any positive benefits of a policy that are accrued abroad. Consistent with these hypotheses, we find that citizens with folk realist or ethnocentrist beliefs do not respond to interdependence arguments. However, we also find that these traits moderate the effects of the other treatments, as well. Just as the overall study of international political economy has increasingly emphasized the interdependent and networked structure of the global economy, our results suggest that these theoretical approaches represent a promising avenue for further understanding public preferences over economic policies. (Presented at IPES 2015, ISA 2016, LSE Financial Regulations Conference 2016).

Research In Progress

  • International Law in Real Time: Patterns of Violence and Public Opinion in the Philippines' War on Drugs (Presented at MPSA 2017).

    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 Jonathan Woon (Presented at MPSA 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.

  • Measuring Mediators Moderates Treatment with Avital Livny and Brain Gaines.

    The use of causal mediation analysis has exploded in political science, expecially in survey experiments. Typically, researchers design survey instruments where respondents are assigned to a particular treatment group, then a mediator is measured, and finally, an outcome is measured. We use two replication exercises to show how the act of measuring the mediator can actually moderate -- magnify, mute, or change direction of -- the desired treatment effects. We suggest best practices for detecting and accounting for this possibility.

  • 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, 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 Political Science 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 and Regionalism 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 IGraduate, 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) .

University of Illinois, Political Science