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2022 CDDRL Fisher Family Honors Program Award Winner Presentations

Thursday, June 2, 2022 | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM (Pacific)

Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.

CDDRL's Fisher Family Honors Program trains students from any academic department at Stanford to prepare them to write a policy-relevant research thesis with global impact on a subject touching on democracy, development, and the rule of law. For our final Spring 2022 seminar, please join us to hear our Honors Program award winners present their research.

Adrian Scheibler, Firestone Medal winner

Adrian ScheiblerMajor: International Relations
Thesis Advisor: Christophe Crombez

Thesis Title: Challenging the State: Western European Regionalism in the Era of Financial Crisis

Abstract: The Global Financial Crisis and its aftershocks have substantially altered the Western European political landscape. But while the literature has extensively focused on the impacts of the economic hardship on traditional party competition, it has often failed to consider the center-periphery dimension. My thesis addresses both the demand for and supply of regionalist ideologies during the crisis. Using an original dataset containing 8 countries, 35 regions, and 128 regionalist parties, it finds that voters did not increase their support for regionalist parties during the crisis and may have even turned their backs on these political actors. In addition, I consider the reactions of regionalist parties in three Spanish autonomous communities - Catalonia, the Basque Country, and Galicia - to the crisis. I find evidence of regionalist mobilization on the issue and even some indications of radicalization of regionalist demands. Taken together, these findings raise interesting implications for the impacts of the financial crisis and the interaction between economic indicators, party competition, and voting patterns.


Michal Skreta, CDDRL Outstanding Thesis winner

Michal SkretaMajor: Economics and Political Science
Thesis Advisor: Larry Diamond

Thesis Title: Babies, Money, and Power: Estimating Causal Effects of the “Family 500+” Child Benefit Program in Poland using the Synthetic Control Method

Abstract: The ‘Family 500+” child benefit program introduced in April 2016 by the government of Poland has become the single most expensive component of Polish social policy expenditure, yet past studies have rarely estimated the effects of the program through causal methods. In a novel application within this context, I propose using the synthetic control method as a causal identification strategy to empirically estimate country-level treatment effects of the program on fertility, poverty, and inequality. Treating 500+ as a natural experiment, I compare observational data from actual Poland with a synthetic counterfactual of Poland constructed from a weighted donor pool of other European countries through a data-driven selection procedure. My findings on fertility metrics are consistent with prior studies, being ambiguous and insignificant, indicating that the main short-term objective of the program has not been achieved. Meanwhile, I find that the program causally reduced the rate of people at risk of poverty in Poland by over 16%, including by more than 23% among children. I also find that the child benefit has led to a significant reduction in income inequality, being causally responsible for a decline of 5.9% in the Gini index and of 8.0% in the income quintile share ratio. While significant, the results on poverty and inequality are weaker than initially anticipated. My results are robust under in-space treatment reassignment placebo studies. The findings contribute to a growing literature on the causal effects of child benefit policy interventions applied on an aggregate unit level.


Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to E008 in Encina Hall may attend in person.