Pablo Fernandez-VazquezWelcome to my website. I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Juan March – Carlos III Institute. I obtained my PhD in Political Science from New York University (2014).

I am a scholar of comparative politics with a focus on political representation. I approach this field from two complementary angles: (i) the role of elections in selecting representatives and, (ii) elections as instruments of accountability. Methodologically, I design survey experiments to estimate the effect of elite communication, use text analysis to code political speeches, and apply regression discontinuity designs to understand the impact of institutional choices on accountability. With a geographic focus on Western Europe, my research has led me to also study other regions, particularly Latin America. My work has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political ScienceComparative Political Studies, Political Science Research and Methods, and Party Politics.

The first question that I address is the following: Do voters obtain credible information from election campaigns? I explore the contradiction between the normative purpose of campaigns – informing voters – and the reality that political parties have vote-seeking incentives to promise popular policies even when they do not intend to implement them. Looking at Western Europe, my paper “The Credibility of Party Policy Rhetoric” argues that voters are aware of parties’ vote-seeking incentives and therefore discount popular campaign promises as not credible. I provide evidence of this using text analysis and a survey experiment fielded in the United Kingdom that exposes respondents to real statements by the Conservative and Labour Party on immigration and fiscal spending on health care. This paper has been invited to resubmit at the Journal of Politics. Its findings refutes the convention in the existent literature that voters are uniformed and naive, and this has implications for how political scientists approach party competition, campaign pandering, or even the role of “fake news.”

The second question that motivates my research looks at elections as instruments of accountability. For both Western Europe and Latin America, I explore why voters reelect corrupt incumbents. A common explanation for this phenomenon in the literature is that voters lack credible information about the wrongdoing of their representatives. My contribution is to show that this explanation is unsatisfactory: Even when voters have information, they condone corruption in scenarios in which corruption generates (short-term) economic stimulus for the community. My research, which has been published in Political Science Research and Methods, includes observational evidence and survey experiments in Sweden, Spain, and Brazil.

Here you can find my updated CV [ link ]

Juan March – Carlos III Institute
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