Marion Fourcade, Professor

Closed (1) The Great Online Migration

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

This project examines how the Covid-19-related quarantines have precipitated an unprecedented shift to digital living. Since the shutdowns began, internet infrastructure has made it possible to socialize, exercise, learn, and work from home. However, the urgency of the pandemic and the rapid transition to cloud-based interactivity have exposed the stark inequalities of the digital divide, given rise to unregulated forms of data surveillance, and forced hasty political and economic decision making. Tech firms are now leading the digital reorganization of work in every sector and accumulating richer troves of text and video data on proprietary platforms in the process. Political leaders, many of whom lack in-depth knowledge of cloud-based infrastructure, are increasingly relying on tech executives to define the policies that will reshape digitality in our post-pandemic world. Having rendered technology a basic necessity, the Covid-19 pandemic has made questions about how to equitably build and govern digital infrastructure all the more urgent. This call for applications concerns the collection of official documents, to analyze the deployment of technology to address various pandemic-related issues in Alameda County, California. As a place where counter-cultural sympathies and grassroots activism coexist with dependency on the technology sector and fiscal crisis, it is a perfect site to study the confluence of contradictory social, economic and political forces that shape the great online migration and its possible futures.

Possible research activities include:
1) collecting, organizing, and coding official documents detailing partnerships between local governments and technology companies
2) carrying out interviews with relevant actors
3) observing online public meetings
4) collecting other public information (social media, local press, etc...)
Please note that the time commitment is indicative only, and can be adjusted according to your needs.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: David Joseph-Goteiner, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Ability to work independently, attention to detail, experience working with spreadsheets (Excel/Google Docs), interest in qualitative research methods, good listening, writing and typing skills, interest in local politics and/or technology a plus.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: online research, phone or online interviews

Closed (2) The Rating of Sovereigns and the Judgment of Nations

Check back for status

This project examines how modern states are classified by outside actors, delving into the business of sovereign debt rating to show its heavy reliance on subjective assessments about a country’s “culture”, “institutions” or “politics.” On the one hand states (the party contracting the debt) have to project a certain image and abide by the raters’ classificatory standards in order to successfully market their bonds internationally. On the other hand, they have to do so in a situation where the financial markets are interested in their country’s willingness to repay its foreign creditors, which implicates a much broader set of considerations, from the nature and stability of the political contract, to inchoate views about the responsible character of a people, to contested measures of economic strength or frailty. As these fuzzy representations about the moral nature of the sovereign are translated into sharply differentiated borrowing costs, ratings (and the sovereign bond market more generally) become a potentially powerful vehicle in performing the economic and moral differences they presumed in the first place, and thereby reproducing international economic inequalities. This call for applications concerns an analysis of the narratives published by sovereign credit rating agencies about Eurozone countries in the period surrounding the “Eurozone debt crisis” that followed the global financial crisis of 2008.

I am looking for someone who can help me with the following tasks:

1) collecting and organizing textual data published by credit rating agencies
2) preparing these data for computational text analysis (under the supervision of a graduate student)
URAP students participating in this project will gain experience with at least one of the following: researching primary documents, coding data from documents, qualitative data management


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Etienne Ollion, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: ability to work independently, attention to detail, experience working with spreadsheets (Excel/Google Docs), interest in qualitative research methods, interest in computational text analysis, good listening and typing skills, interest in international politics and/or finance a plus.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Closed (3) The Discipline of Gender. Men, Women and Writing in the Social Sciences.

Check back for status

Academic disciplines differ, among many dimensions, in the extent to which they are populated mostly by men, or mostly by women. Building upon this well-established fact, this research examines the relationship between the "knowledge hierarchy" and the "gender hierarchy" across a range of social sciences. We assess the past and present strength of this connection. We then explore how gender shapes the knowledge hierarchy on both ends: by structuring input (e.g., funneling men and women into different -- and differentially valued -- scientific trajectories, both across and within disciplines); and by structuring output (e.g., the relative devaluation of women's versus men's research topics and methods, the lesser citation of women reproduces gender hierarchies).

Our research relies on bibliometric data to map out the relationship between gender and research style. Through a research agreement with JSTOR, the PIs have gained access to a full text and bibliographic references of a set of 40 prominent journals in each of 5 disciplines (namely economics, sociology, political science, and history). The methodological and epistemological preferences of men and women are now being investigated. In line with some of our most recent work, we are currently resorting to hand or semi-automated-coding on a restricted sample of articles.


Undergraduate research assistants will help in the crucial coding phase. In close connection with the PIs, they
• will assist in cleaning up the current tables in order to obtain a good quality dataset.
• will tag authors and articles, using a software they will be provided.
• will assist the researchers with broader research tasks (press coverage, library research) when applicable.

Research assistants will be working hand in hand with the PIs, thus learning directly the craft of research from them. Apprentices interested in pursuing graduate studies or students interested in data science will have an opportunity to deepen their engagement in data analysis., Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Candidates should have a strong interest in the subject material, comfort working in groups, willingness to give and receive feedback, and ability to take initiative.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: The research can be done online, with frequent online and offline meetings. Note that the co-PI for this project, Etienne Ollion, is a Professor and research scholar located in Paris, France.