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

  • Contingent Public Support for International Legal Institutions with Terrence Chapman (Under review). Appendix.

    Media coverage: The Monkey Cage, Washington Post

    International courts and institutions rely on state cooperation for their effectiveness, and this cooperation often requires the support of sub-national constituencies. We argue that consent and support for these institutions among these constituencies is highly contingent on context: citizens can approve of abstract, foreign actions by international institutions, yet disapprove of specific, local actions. As a result, aggregate levels of support for international law and institutions or surveys based on hypothetical institutional actions may paint a misleading picture about how well specific interventions will be received. This contingent support is magnified by a citizen's "proximity" -- meaning either geographic or social distance to the international institution's actions. For proximate citizens, the difference in aversion to specific, local actions compared to abstract, foreign actions is likely to be greatest, as these are the most likely to be effected by supranational interventions. To examine these dynamics, we fielded a large survey experiment in 2015 about the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is a pertinent and realistic, but also relatively tabula rasa, setting for assessing theoretical arguments about public support for institutions like the ICC. The survey randomly assigned respondents to a control group, where they were asked about ICC investigations in non-specific foreign countries, and a treatment group, where they were asked about a potential ICC investigation into recent violence in Kyrgyzstan. Approval for ICC investigations was significantly lower among respondents asked about an investigation into Kyrgyzstan. This effect was strongest in regions that were most proximate to the violence in question. We compare these findings with those from a similar survey experiment fielded in the United States in early 2016. Despite generally high support for the rule of law and international institutions, U.S. citizens also balk at the the application of international law to their co-nationals. Our findings bear directly on debates about the sources and contingent nature of the support for international law and institutions. These findings help explain why support can often appear high at the outset of an institutional intervention, but quickly erode and ultimately harm the prospects for effective action. (Presented at SPSA 2015, MPSA 2016, APSA 2016).

  • 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).

  • How Hard to Fight? Cross-Player Effects and Strategic Sophistication in an Asymmetric Contest Experiment with Jonathan Woon (Revise and Resubmit Journal of Politics). Appendix.

    Many political phenomena - from wars to elections and lobbying - involve winner-take-all contests in which the value of the prize differs across the actors involved and from one issue to the next. To better understand competitive behavior in such environments, we conduct a controlled laboratory experiment in which participants face a series of asymmetric prize values in a lottery contest game. We find support for some, but not all, of the game's comparative static predictions. Most subjects respond to changes in their own values, but few subjects conditionally respond to cross-player changes. Our data therefore suggest a new type of heterogeneity in the degree of strategic sophistication. We also administer two information based treatments, feedback and a calculator, finding that feedback on past play has a stronger effect on increasing subjects' strategic sophistication than a payoff calculator. (Presented at ESA 2014, MPSA 2015, APSA 2015, SPSA 2016).

Research In Progress

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • International Law and Patterns of Violence in the Philippines' War on Drugs (Presented at MPSA 2017). 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. I combine these analyses with public opinion polling about the Philippines.

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) .

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

University of Illinois, Political Science