Pablo Fernandez-Vazquez is postdoctoral researcher at the Juan March – Carlos III Institute. He obtained his PhD at NYU in 2014. His research integrates survey experiments, text analysis and observational data to study political representation, with a focus on Western Europe.
His work addresses a paradox inherent to democratic elections: On the one hand, a normative justification of election campaigns is that they help citizens make informed voting decisions. On the other, the competitive nature of elections generates strategic incentives for political parties to promise popular policies even if they do not intend to follow through on them. His research examines how voters reconcile this apparent contradiction. He argues that voters are aware of parties’ strategic incentives to campaign on popular positions. As a result, voters discount popular promises as less credible than unpopular positions. His job market paper, “The Credibility of Party Policy Rhetoric” offers empirical support for this argument with a survey experiment fielded in the United Kingdom. Expanding upon this finding, he is examining how globalization affects the credibility of campaign promises about economic policy. His work has been accepted for publication in the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, and Political Science Research and Methods.
As a whole, his research has implications for two major literatures in political science, (i) spatial models of politics and (ii) low information rationality. Regarding the first, I show that shifts in party positions may have no consequences for election results because voters discount the shift as not credible. With respect to the second, even if citizens have little factual information about politics, they are still able to understand the basic incentives that parties face when competing in an election.
Pablo has taught several undergraduate methods courses as instructor of record. He has also been a teaching assistant in comparative politics and statistics courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He looks forward to teaching introduction to comparative politics, a course on European Union politics, and a quantitative research design class.