Stephen Chaudoin
Assistant Professor Harvard University
Stephen Chaudoin
Office CGIS Knafel, Room 207
Phone +1 678 637 8392
Address   Department of Government
Harvard University
CGIS Knafel Building 207
Cambridge, MA  02138
About Me

  • In 2018, I joined the Department of Government at Harvard University. I received my PhD from the Princeton University Department of Politics in 2012. From fall 2012 to 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

  • Robots, Foreigners, and Foreign Robots: Policy Responses to Automation and Trade with Michael-David Mangini. (Revise and resubmit at Journal of Politics). (Presented at GSIPE, GRIPE 2021, IPES 2021, APSA 2022, Yale 2024).

    Why do politicians blame offshoring for job losses when automation is also a culprit? Why have voters responded to automation and offshoring shocks by demanding a retreat from globalization but not transfers to the unemployed? We propose that both questions are explained by the collision of economic nationalism and comparative advantage trade. Economic nationalists, who dislike vulnerability and imports, oppose policies that hamper their own state's comparative advantage industries, like regulations of high-tech automation. They are more comfortable with tariffs restricting imports. In the United States, which has a comparative advantage in the production of capital intensive automation technologies, this effect undercuts the willingness of voters to support policies that would protect jobs by regulating automation. Opportunistic politicians emphasize offshoring because economic nationalist voters support limiting imports but are conflicted in their support for limiting automation. We develop a formal model of a citizen's demand for policy in response to economic dislocation, where citizens form preferences over redistribution plans and a policy response that blunts dislocation (like a tariff or a restriction on automation). The source (foreign versus domestic) and type (labor versus automation) of a shock affects the preferred weights citizens place on each policy. We test the model’s predictions with a survey experiment fielded in the United States. Consistent with expectations, domestic automation shocks increase the weight respondents place on redistribution versus a regulatory response, while globalization shocks place much heavier weight on regulatory (tariff) responses. Altering the source of each shock - by emphasizing foreign-produced automation technology or within-country labor relocation - reweights responses towards regulations in the former case and redistribution in the latter case. Our findings contribute to our understanding of the political consequences of the current populist moment as well as give predictions about how the tide of popular sentiment could turn against automation.

Research In Progress

  • Persuasion in Global Swing States with Taegyun Lim. (Presented at MPSA 2024)

    When international institutions take actions against states, does this persuade citizens in "global swing states" to back efforts against the accused? For example, it is well-understood that Russian President Putin is unlikely to ever be arrested and tried at the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine. But do these accusations increase support for the sanctions regime, military aid to Ukraine, or diplomatic censuring of Russia? We focus on "swing states" like India, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey because they are not perfectly aligned with the West or its adversaries. We use survey experiments and media content analysis to test different models of the effects of IO accusations on external pressure.

  • Can the Left and Right Ever Agree on Redistribution? with Nita Rudra and Kevin Troy. (Presented at MPSA 2024)

    How do governments address economic shocks associated with globalization and automation in the current polarized environment? The prevailing consensus redistribution policies in response to globalization have been unsuccessful, primarily because conservatives’ reluctance to support redistribution measures leads to persistent gridlock and emphasis on tariffs. We show the history and feasibility of political support for social investment, which is a key subset of redistribution policies. Social investments are aimed at improving upward mobility and opportunity, in contrast with tax-and-transfer redistribution that compensates those harmed. We hypothesize that many citizens prefer the former because it restores perceptions of labor market fairness and increases optimism about the competitiveness of domestic production. We use local-level spending data from US counties from 1991-2023 to show how counties that were hardest hit by globalization increased their spending on education – a pillar of social investment – at faster rates than counties less hit by globalization. Remarkably, this phenomenon is present in both Republican and Democratic counties. We then analyze data from two large survey experiments (N = 3,000 and N = 4,100) showing how exposure to prompts about globalization increase support for social investment, even though they do not increase support for tax-and-transfer redistribution. We again show that these patterns are present for both conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats. We use the survey experimental evidence to show how these patterns extend to economic dislocation from other sources, like automation and climate regulation. Our research provides retrospective and prospective support for the growing idea that social investment and “predistribution” are more politically feasible than tax-and-transfer redistribution. Our results paint a more optimistic picture about responses to dislocation from globalization, with implications for the feasibility of responses to the growing effects of automation regulations designed to limit climate change.

  • Economic Interdependence in the Global Economy from Gravity with Michael-David Mangini.

Teaching and Syllabi
GOV 40 - Introduction to International Relations Syllabus , Assignments Undergraduate, Harvard University
GOV 3007 - Political Economy WorkshopGraduate, Harvard University
GOV 3005 - International Relations WorkshopGraduate, Harvard University
GOV 94 - Human Rights Syllabus Undergraduate, Harvard University
GOV 2752 - Formal Theory in IR and CP Syllabus Graduate, Harvard University
Past Classes
PS 598 - Human RightsGraduate, University of Illinois
PS 280 - Introduction to International RelationsUndergraduate, University of Illinois
PS 596 - International Political Economy Syllabus Graduate, University of Illinois
PS 590 - New Research in PS Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
PS 392 - International Organizations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
PS 398 - Strategy in International Relations Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Illinois
PS 2703 - Formal Political Theory I Syllabus Graduate, University of Pittsburgh
PS 1514 - Political Strategy in IRUndergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
PS 1581 - International Courts Syllabus Undergraduate, University of Pittsburgh
PS 1503 - International OrganizationsUndergraduate, University of Pittsburgh

Other Publications and works

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