Social Sciences: Latin American Politics

Department: Politics

Supervising Faculty Member: Daniel Gingerich

Specialization: Latin American Politics

Research Focus: I am working on a book tentatively entitled, "Unharnessing the Vote? Institutional Change and Political Intermediation in Brazil." The manuscript examines how the introduction of the effective secret vote in Brazil reshaped the nature of democratic representation in that country. In order to better understand the consequences that the secret vote had and the factors that led to its adoption, I have employed teams of research assistants to locate and code electoral returns, census documents, and legislative voting records (as well as other documents) for the period in question (1954-1970). The project seeks to adjudicate between interpretations of the secret ballot which view it primarily as an instrument of liberation for poor voters and interpretations which view it as a vehicle for the disenfranchisement of illiterates.

Position Description: Students working on the project will be primarily engaged in the coding of electoral and/or census documents in Excel.

Required skills: Basic familiarity with data entry in Excel is required. The ideal candidate would also be comfortable with written Portuguese, but sufficient instruction on the documents will be given so as not to make this a necessity.

Computer software: See above.

What you will learn: 1. Achieve a better understanding of how social scientific hypotheses are evaluated. 2. Achieve a better understanding of how key variables in social scientific theories are measured. 3. Achieve a better understanding of how democratic institutions have evolved over time.

Web site link to research: http://danielgingerich.weebly.com/