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Welcome.


Scroll down to check out my work.

SCROLL DOWN

Welcome.


Scroll down to check out my work.

I'm a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Emory University and expect to receive my Ph.D. in the Spring of 2019. I study international political economy, international institutions, and comparative judicial politics. My research has appeared in the American Political Science Review

My research focuses on the political economy of economic integration, the political economy of noncompliance with international law, and the judicial politics of international and constitutional courts. I am broadly interested in how institutions constrain the behavior of political actors and how the design of institutions conditions their effectiveness. I use a combination of game theory and quantitative methods, including causal inference techniques.

My work centers on how international institutions facilitate regional economic integration. I study the political economy of why states violate economic agreements, the conditions under which international organizations effectively monitor and prosecute noncompliance, and the mechanisms by which international courts constrain states’ economic policies. My work also addresses how threats of noncompliance and override constrain the ability of courts to rule against governments and how the internal politics of collegial courts constrains their ability to strategically enforce compliance. I study these questions in the context of the European Union (EU), which provides a data-rich environment for theory-testing.

I have an M.A. in Political Science from Emory. I also have a B.A. in Government and History, with Special Honors in Government, and a B.B.A. in the McCombs Business Honors Program from the University of Texas at Austin (UT).

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My Research.


Check out my publications and working papers.

My Research.


Check out my publications and working papers.

Publications: 

  • Fjelstul, Joshua C., and Clifford J. Carrubba. 2018. "The Politics of International Oversight: Strategic Monitoring and Legal Compliance in the European Union." American Political Science Review 112 (3):429-445.

Abstract. States often violate international agreements, both accidentally and intentionally. To process complaints efficiently, states can create formal, pre-trial procedures in which governments can negotiate with litigants before a case ever goes to court. If disputes are resolved during pre-trial negotiations, it can be very difficult to tell what has happened. Are governments coming into compliance? If so, are they only doing so when they have accidentally committed a violation, or even when they are intentionally resisting? Or are challenges simply being dropped? This paper presents a formal model to address these questions. We develop our theory in the context of the European Union (EU). To test our model, we collect a new data set of over 13,000 Commission infringement cases against EU member states (2003-2013). Our results suggest that accidental and intentional noncompliance both occur, but that intentional noncompliance is more common in the EU. We find that the Commission is an effective, if imperfect, monitor and enforcer of international law. The Commission can correct intentional noncompliance, but not always. It strategically drops cases that it believes it is unlikely to win. 


Working papers:

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Politics of Noncompliance in Common Markets.

Abstract. States create common markets to accrue consumer welfare gains. Given incentives to cheat to protect domestic firms from foreign competition, they create international regulatory regimes to manage noncompliance. But the politics of compliance generates systematic bias in the types of noncompliance cases that get litigated. I develop a formal model that explains how the politics of compliance in regulatory regimes systematically distorts the welfare gains that states accrue from developing common markets. The model predicts the sectors in which regulatory regimes are effective at reducing trade barriers — those with intermediate levels of homogeneity in terms of firm productivity — and the downstream consequences for the performance of individual firms and consumer welfare. I show that if we do not take into account the politics of compliance, our predictions about the distributive consequences of common markets and the conditions under which consumer welfare will increase will be systematically biased.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Evaluating Complex Economic Policies: Evidence of Respondent Sophistication from the European Sovereign Debt Crisis.

Abstract. This paper considers how sophisticated people are when evaluating the tradeoffs associated with complex economic policies, conditional on economic conditions in their country and their own self-reported interests. In light of a recent trend towards using referendums to make major economic policy decisions, this question has important implications for the coherency of economic policy. I provide evidence from the European sovereign debt crisis that people are sophisticated in their evaluation of one particularly salient economic policy: Commission monitoring of member state compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) to stabilize the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). I find evidence that respondents in EU member states can identify the economic tradeoffs that Commission monitoring presents, consider how their member state’s noncompliance with the SGP criteria affects the applicability of those tradeoffs, and evaluate those tradeoffs given their self-reported interest in maintaining the stability of the EMU.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Life After Brexit: The Impact of Common Law Judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Abstract. How will Brexit impact the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), given that the United Kingdom (UK) is one of the EU’s two common law member states? This paper uses a new dataset of over 10,000 ECJ cases (the universe of cases, 1956-2016) and quasi-experimental techniques to estimate the causal effect of common law judges on case law citations. To assess the likely impact of Brexit, I identify three specific causal mechanisms by which common law judges can push the ECJ to cite more case law, the conditions under which each mechanism can operate, and how common those conditions are. Based on my findings, I run a simulation to assess the likely impact of losing the UK judge. The impact of Brexit is likely be minimal in the short term, but more substantial in the long term.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Evolution of European Union Law: A Dynamic Model of the Acquis Communautaire. 

The European Union (EU) legal system is one of the most complex and sophisticated in the world. Scholars are interested in how the EU legal system has evolved over time, and there are important, open theoretical questions. This paper models the Acquis Communautaire (i.e., the corpus of EU law) and introduces the Evolution of European Union Law (EvoEU) dataset, which tracks connections between EU primary law, EU secondary law, EU case law, national case law that applies EU law, and national law that implements EU law. This dataset is designed to further the empirical study of (a) how these areas of EU law relate to each other, and (b) how and why these relationships change over time. It is the largest, most comprehensive dataset on EU law to date. It covers the entire history of the EU (1951-2015), contains over 365,000 documents, and records over 1.1 million connections between them.

  • Carrubba, Cliff, Joshua Fjelstul, Matt Gabel, and Dani Villa, The Internal Organization of the European Court of Justice: Discretion, Compliance, and the Strategic Use of Chambers.

Abstract. Overseeing the complex legal system of the European Union (EU), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) is an extraordinarily productive international court. To help the Court manage its substantial caseload, member states have given it discretion over which cases it can hear in small Chambers. The rules governing the Court’s use of Chambers have evolved substantially over time. The Chambers System may have a significant impact on the application of EU law, but we know remarkably little about it. This paper provides the first comprehensive description of the rules governing the Court’s use of Chambers and their evolution. We assess the degree to which the Court has complied with these rules, evaluate the Court’s strategic use of Chambers, and simulate the Court’s workload under counterfactual rules to demonstrate the impact of the Chambers System on the efficacy of the Court.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, and Sivaram Cheruvu, The Effectiveness of Pre-Trial Bargaining in Litigation over Policy Implementation.

Abstract. The ability of courts to adjudicate disputes over the implementation of laws by government agencies depends on their ability to effectively process a docket of cases. Pre-trial bargaining over settlements helps courts correct noncompliance by freeing up docket space for hard cases. However, pre-trial bargaining can be time-consuming and ineffi- cient. Do the opportunity costs of bargaining undermine the effectiveness of pre-trial procedures by causing delays? Can structured dialogue between potential litigants during the implementation process improve the efficiency of bargaining by reducing those costs? We answer these questions in the context of the European Union (EU). First, we identify a natural experiment and use a difference-in-differences design to provide causal evidence that the opportunity costs of pre-trial procedures undermine their efficiency. Second, we use a difference-in-differences design to provide causal evidence that structured dialogue improves the efficiency of pre-trial bargaining.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Political Economy of State Aid in the European Union.

Abstract. Business regulations in the European Union (EU) are extraordinarily complex, making it costly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) — responsible for most capital investment in the EU — to infer member states' pro-/anti-investor preferences, which can vary by sector, from their de jure and de facto policies.  How does uncertainty about member states' preferences affect firms' decisions to undertake capital investments? What can states do to credibly communicate their preferences to firms? In this paper, I explore how EU member states can promote investment by using state aid to credibly communicate their preferences to non-recipient, resource-constrained SMEs. I present a formal model to identify the conditions under which signaling can induce non-recipeint firms to accept prospective investment projects that they would have rejected otherwise. I take advantage of new EU reporting guidelines to compile a new dataset of approximately 4,000 state aid awards granted in 2016 and 2017. I use this data to test the model’s main prediction: That aid-granting agencies can attract the same investment projects from non-recipeint firms with smaller state aid awards when their member states are more sensitive to reputational costs stemming from insincere signals.

  • Carrubba, Cliff, Braden Dauzat, Joshua Fjelstul, Matt Gabel, Bureaucratic Expertise in Judicial Decision-Making.

Abstract. Under what conditions can we expect bureaucracies to choose to provide international courts with third-party briefs? Under what conditions can we expect these briefs to influence courts’ rulings? Carrubba and Gabel (2015) find that the European Court of Justice is more likely to rule in favor of a litigant when the Commission submits a brief on its behalf — a finding that is robust to controlling for the position of the Advocate General. Motivated by this empirical puzzle, we develop a case-space model that examines the strategic interaction between the Commission and the Court. We analyze this model in order to examine how differences in preferences and differences in expertise drive how the Commission chooses to participate in court cases and when the Court defers to the Commission’s position.

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My Data Projects.


I'm currently working on several large data sets. 

My Data Projects.


I'm currently working on several large data sets. 

I'm currently working on several large datasets to support some of my current and future research projects. If you're interested in any of my data, please contact me about availability. 


Compliance in the European Union (EU).

I've created a dataset of over 16,000 infringement cases opened by the European Commission against member states, covering 2003–2016. The data set includes all cases active at any point during this period. The dataset every case as it moves through the stages of the Article 258 infringement procedure. The dataset also includes the directorate-general of the Commission that initiated each case (which indicates the policy content) and the EU directive that the case concerns, if applicable. For directives, the dataset also indicates whether or not a case deals with the noncommunication of a directive (as opposed to incorrect transposition). 

This dataset features in The Politics of International Oversight: Strategic Monitoring and Legal Compliance in the European Union, which was recently published in the APSR


Composition of the European Court of Justice (ECJ):

I've created a dataset of 10,350 ECJ cases from 1952 through 2015 (the universe of cases). For each case, the dataset includes the chamber of the Court, the composition of the panel of judges, the advocate general, the legal procedure (reference for preliminary ruling, action for failure to fulfill obligations, action for annulment, action for failure to act, or appeal), and citations (to case law, secondary law, and the EU Treaties), among other information. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only complete dataset of ECJ cases to date. 

This dataset features in two of my working papers: The Impact of Common Law Judges at the European Court of Justice and The Internal Organization of the European Court of Justice: Discretion, Compliance, and the Strategic Use of Chambers. 


Evolution of European Union (EU) Law:

I've created the Evolution of European Union Law (EvoEU) dataset, which tracks theoretically interesting connections between EU treaty articles, EU secondary law (regulations and directives), EU case law (Court of Justice judgments, General Court judgments, and advocate general opinions), national case law that refers to EU law, and national law that implements EU law.

The EvoEU dataset covers the entire history of the EU (1951-2015). It contains over 365,000 legal instruments (nearly the entire corpus of EU law) and records over 1.1 million individual connections between them. These connections indicate legislative and judicial political outcomes that scholars care about, including how CJEU cases affect other EU legal instruments and how new secondary laws amend existing secondary laws. It also tracks citations. This dataset is designed to further the empirical study of (a) how these areas of EU law relate to each other, and (b) how and why these relationships have changed over time. The EvoEU dataset contributes to the empirical study of EU law by providing scholars with the first comprehensive picture of how EU law has developed. It is the largest and most complete dataset on EU law to date.

The dataset covers over 4,000 treaty provisions across 16 EU treaties (including the accession treaties), almost 4,000 directives, over 130,000 regulations, over 20,000 decisions, over 10,000 Court of Justice judgments, over 5,000 General Court judgments, over 8,000 advocate general opinions, almost 150,000 national implementation measures, and over 30,000 national court cases that refer to EU law. The dataset is based on data and metadata provided by the European Commission in the publicly available EUR-Lex database.

The EvoEU dataset includes the entire network of citations among Court of Justice cases (useful for scholars interested in the Court's use of precedent), but goes a step further by including citations among all Court of Justice cases, General Court cases, and advocates general opinions. It also includes citations in CJEU cases to secondary law and EU treaties.

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My Teaching Portfolio.


I co-taught a graduate course on game theory in the spring of 2016. 

My Teaching Portfolio.


I co-taught a graduate course on game theory in the spring of 2016. 

My teaching interests are in statistics, game theory, and international relations. In the spring of 2016, I co-taught a graduate-level introductory course on game theory. Here's a list of courses I've been involved with at Emory.

Graduate:

  • Co-Instructor, Introduction to Game Theory (POLS 513), with Cliff Carrubba (Spring 2016)
  • Teaching Assistance, Introduction to Game Theory (POLS 513), with Shawn Ramirez (Spring 2018)

Undergraduate:

  • Teaching Assistant, Introduction to International Relations (POLS 110), with Zack Bowersox (Spring 2017)
  • Teaching Assistant, Introduction to International Relations (POLS 110), with Eric Reinhardt (Fall 2015)
  • Teaching Assistant, Political Science Methods (POLS 208), with David Davis (Spring 2015)

I've also completed the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) program conducted by the Laney Graduate School at Emory. TATTO is an innovative teacher training program designed to prepare Ph.D. students to teach undergraduate courses. This program consists of four components: a short summer course, departmental seminars, a teaching assistantship, and a teaching associateship (a co-teaching opportunity). 

I've conducted two workshops on text analysis for social scientists for The Institute for Quantitative Theory and Methods (QuanTM) at Emory University. 

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My Curriculum Vitae.


See what I've been doing lately. 

My Curriculum Vitae.


See what I've been doing lately. 

Here's a link to my current curriculum vitae:


Here are my recent invited talks:

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Cliff Carrubba, The Perils of Using Roll-Call Vote Data, Political Institutions and Methodology Workshop, Department of Political Science, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, July 18, 2018.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Cliff Carrubba, The Perils of Using Roll-Call Vote Data, Political Institutions and Economy Workshop, Department of Political Science, Duke University, Durham, NC, April 18, 2018.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Political Economy of Noncompliance in Common Markets, Brown Bag Colloquium Series, Department of Political Science, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, March 6, 2018.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Cliff Carrubba, Policymaking and Political Oversight in the European Union, Faculty Research Speaker Series, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, September 18, 2015.


And here are recent conference presentations involving my work:

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Political Economy of Noncompliance in Common Markets, Emory-Duke-Rochester Political Economy Graduate Research Conference, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, June 30, 2018.

  • Carrubba, Cliff, Joshua Fjelstul, International Courts: the CJEU and the ECtHR, Facilitating Empirical Studies of Judicial Behavior on Constitutional Courts from a Comparative Perspective (NSF-funded conference), Texas A&M Law School, Fort Worth, TX, May 11, 2018.

  • Cheruvu, Sivaram, Joshua Fjelstul, Bureaucratic Responsiveness in the European Union: Using the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship to Identify Resource Constraints, Graduate Student Workshop on the European Union, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, May 11, 2018.

  • Cheruvu, Sivaram, Joshua Fjelstul, Bureaucratic Responsiveness in the European Union: Using the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship to Identify Resource Constraints, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 5, 2018.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Politics of Noncompliance in Single Markets, Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, January 4–6, 2018.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Evaluating Complex Economic Policies: Evidence of Respondent Sophistication from the European Sovereign Debt Crisis, Western U.S. Workshop on the European Union, Jean Monnet Project, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, April 20–31, 2017. 

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Political Economy of International Organization: A Theory of Strategic Monitoring and Compliance in Common Regulatory Regimes, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 6–9, 2017.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Dani Villa, Cliff Carrubba, Matt Gabel, The System of Chambers at the European Court of Justice: Implications for the Productivity and Political Effectiveness of Rulings, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 6–9, 2017 

  • Carrubba, Cliff, Braden Dauzat, Matt Gabel, Joshua Fjelstul, Bureaucratic Expertise in Judicial Decision-Making, Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA, January 12–14, 2017. 

  • Carrubba, Cliff, Braden Dauzat, Matt Gabel, Joshua Fjelstul, Technocrats at Court: Does Expertise Sway International Courts? Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, September 1–4, 2016.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, The Political Economy of Single Markets: A Theory of Strategic Monitoring and Compliance, Western U.S. Workshop on the European Union, Jean Monnet Project, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, April 29–30, 2016. 

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, In the Face of Uncertainty: When Can States Convince Firms to Invest by Revealing Private Preferences for Investor Protections?, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 9, 2016.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Cliff Carrubba, The Politics of International Oversight: Strategic Monitoring and Legal Compliance in the European Union, Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico, January 9, 2016.

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Jessica Weeks, Michael Tomz, and Dan Reiter, Alliance Terms and Audience Costs: An Ex- perimental Study of the Microfoundations of Alliance Compliance, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Fransisco, CA, September 5, 2015. 

  • Fjelstul, Joshua, Dan Reiter, Using Loopholes to Evade Audience Costs: A New Look at Alliance Compliance, Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 6, 2015. 

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Contact Me.


Let me know if you're interested in my work. 

Contact Me.


Let me know if you're interested in my work. 

If you're interested in my research or you'd like to know more about my data, please email me at joshua.fjelstul@emory.edu or use the form below. 

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