Hire an MU PhD


Kouakou Donatien Adou

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Adou is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Missouri and expects to receive his terminal degree by May 2022. His subfields are Comparative Politics, and Public Policy and Administration with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. His research and teaching interests in Comparative Politics revolve around the politics of development broadly defined. He specifically looks at the origins of corruption and why some countries, sub-national entities, and individuals are more corrupt than others. In public policy, he works on attitudes toward the poor and indigenous development policies for developing countries. Adou is also highly interested in survey experiments and traditional quantitative research methods, and has done fieldwork in several countries including Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Uganda.

His work is predominantly quantitative and increasingly mixed methods. Adou’s dissertation supervised by Dr. Jonathan Krieckhaus and a panel of amazing scholars uses a combination of behavioral economics, interviews, surveys, and observational data to investigate how the process of modernization shaped corruption in Africa as we know it today. He collaborates with several scholars on multiple research projects that are either under review or working papers. Adou believes that the average person should be able to have access to the amazing work produced by academics. To help achieve that objective, he is committed to not only make his own work policy relevant but also make academic research accessible to a broader public through a series of blog articles that answer questions of public interest using academic findings.


Elizabeth Dorssom

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I am a 2021-2022 Humane Studies Fellow and Oskar Morgenstern Fellow through the Institute for Humane Studies and Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

My research focuses on the impact of resources on politics and policy. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how resources such as information, institutionalization, and professionalism impact policy adoption and feedback.  My dissertation explores the influence of such resources at the Congressional and state legislative level by examining legislative position-taking as well as legislative outputs such as sunset provisions. Understanding these aspects of the legislative process will help us become better informed about which of these legislative processes work and, therefore, promote quality government.

I use a variety of methods in my research, including both qualitative methods – such as interviews, case study research, and text analysis – and quantitative methods, such as survey and field experiments. My research has been supported by the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri, the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

I also have a strong passion for teaching. I have taught numerous classes including, Introduction to American Government, American Political Behavior, Missouri Politics, and Women and Politics. Additionally, I am prepared to teach classes on American political institutions and behavior, state politics and policy, legislative politics and policy, and political methodology. 


Dorssom, Elizabeth I. 2021. ”Does Legislative Institutionalization Impact Policy Adoption? New Evidence from the Colonial and Early State Legislatures 1757-1795” Social Science Quarterly 102(4):1451-1465.

Public Scholarship:

Dorssom, Elizabeth I. ”What Sunset Provisions Tell Us About Policymaking.” 3 Streams June 8, 2021.


Aric Dale Gooch

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I am a PhD candidate and Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy graduate fellow. I have approximately three years of teaching experience in the areas of American government and politics, a seminar on Constitutional democracy, and comparative politics. My research focuses on American political development, American political thought, political parties, and legislatures. My dissertation studies the development of candidate emergence and nomination in the first party era. I have articles in Legislative Studies Quarterly and Social Science Quarterly.

“The Development of Representation in American Political Institutions.” 2021. (with Jordan Butcher) Legislative Studies Quarterly 46(4): 1059-1086. https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12322

“Congressional Nominations and Party Emergence, 1788-1808.” 2021. (with Jay Dow) Social Science Quarterly 102(6): 2836-2848. http://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.13064


John Smith

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I am a doctoral candidate studying International Relations and Comparative Politics, specializing in security and subnational conflict. My research focuses on the dynamics of civil conflicts and how access to resources enables intercommunal violence in fragile or failed states. 


Michael Wales

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I am a doctoral candidate in the Truman School of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, where I study public policy and administration and international relations. In my research I focus on policy evaluation on a range of topics, but with an emphasis on public budgeting. My dissertation evaluates performance-based budgeting policies in multiple states to determine the role agency performance records play in appropriations and if those outcomes align with preferences expressed by state legislators and the public through interviews and surveys. The goal of this research is to clarify the underlying theory of performance-based budgeting and to help practitioners in government better understand how policymakers use performance information to make decisions. Other research projects include the application of evaluation techniques to foreign policy issues and welfare analysis of local government income tax policies.

I am also enthusiastic about teaching at the college level. When I worked in government as a budget analyst, my goal was to equip policymakers with the tools to make informed decisions. Now, I want to pass along the knowledge I have gained through my education, research, and practical experience to equip a new generation to be effective researchers, analysts, administrators, or just informed citizens.