(PhD Candidate, Economics) studies prosocial behavior from the viewpoint of behavioral and experimental economics. Her research aims to (1) examine how reputations and incentives may impact individuals’ levels of service hours or charitable donations, and (2) develop and test matching mechanisms involving volunteers’ skills and preferences that may increase both volunteer retention and the effectiveness of volunteer services. Funded by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, Christine will precisely test these factors in laboratory studies. She also seeks to implement complementary field studies by partnering with non-profit organizations, such as her partnership with the San Francisco SPCA to study their volunteer program. Christine holds a B.S in Mathematics and Economics from University of Mary Washington, where she uncovered her interest in development economics (her second area of specialization) while working on microfinance and indoor air pollution projects in Honduras. Someday soon, she hopes to help find more homeless pets homes by improving the pet-owner matching market in the United States.
(PhD Candidate, Political Science) studies democratic theory and theories of justice. His research interests include the epistemic dimension of decision-making, free speech and campaign finance regulations, and voluntary collaboration in the context of competitive interests. A focus of his work is whether unequal political influence in deliberation can be legitimate if it yields a public good. Ariel developed a nuanced appreciation for government bureaucracy while working at the Woodrow Wilson Center. He also has experience as a local nonprofit event planner. Ariel received a B.A. in Politics from UC Santa Cruz and an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC and Bologna, Italy. He lives in Mountain View with his wife and two children.
(PhD Candidate, E-IPER) studies decision-making on environmental issues through the lens of neuroimaging. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as part of Brian Knutson's SPANlab, Nik aims to better understand the neural structures that motivate public response to and philanthropic support of environmental causes. His work spans across neural mechanisms of charitable giving, willingness-to-pay for environmental resources, consumer purchasing behavior with energy-efficient appliances, environmental risk perception, and implications of the sharing economy on pro-environmental behavior. Nik received his B.S. in biology from Stanford as well, studying neural mechanisms to mitigate damage from strokes, and worked for several years as a medical writer for Silicon Valley biotech companies. Feeling as if he was ranging further afield from what drew him to biology in the first place - he had originally published an ecological novel called Wolf Trails in high school - Nik decided to combine his background in neuroscience with his love of environmental issues, and returned to Stanford to study the neural mechanisms which underlie how we think about the environment. Obtaining a clear picture of how we evaluate long-term environmental decisions on a neural level is an important step in characterizing how and why we make unsustainable choices, and can help inform new approaches in environmental economics, policymaking, and nonprofit work.
(PhD Candidate, Education Policy) studies patterns and trends of educational inequality and the political tools at our disposal for addressing these inequalities. His current work investigates the effects of court-ordered school finance reform. The first piece of his project is to estimate the effects of recent reforms on the distribution of resources and student achievement. Prior literature suggests that these reforms are likely to have only modest effects. But there is an equity component to these reforms as well, and when states decide to sever the tie between local property wealth and per-pupil spending, they signal their unwillingness to sanction public institutions from differentially advantaging one group over another. The second component of this project is to consider ways in which these reforms have affected the quality of civic life. Ken holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Rhode Island. Prior to coming to Stanford, he was a teacher for five years in Pueblo Pintado, a small Navajo community in the northwest region of New Mexico. He also taught for two years in Quito, Ecuador.
Post Doctoral Fellows
Chiara Cordelli (PhD, Political Theory, University College London) specializes in contemporary political theory, with a particular interest in theories of justice, and the relation between the state and civil society associations. Her dissertation The Institutional Subject of Justice and the Duties of Private Agents explores the normative division of principles and responsibilities between political institutions and private associations in relation to social justice, and illustrates how this division shifts when political agency fragments and private associations come to act as state proxies or replacements in delivering basic goods and public services. A chapter, "The Institutional Division of Labor and the Egalitarian Obligations of Nonprofits," is forthcoming in the Journal of Political Philosophy. Chiara has been a policy researcher at the European Commission, has held research fellowships at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and through the British Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is an affiliated member of the Global Center of Governance for Civil Society based in Tokyo. Previously, Chiara received a MA in Human Rights from University College London and a BA from the University of Rome La Sapienza. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society, Chiara will be revising her dissertation into a book manuscript, and will continue to conduct research on the relationship between social justice, privatization, and civil society.
Valeska Korff (PhD, Sociology, University of Groningen/ICS, The Netherlands) holds an MA in Development Sociology (University of Leiden) and has worked in various functions for both, cultural and economic development projects in Northern Thailand. Her experience with development theory and practice resulted in a particular interest in the organizations involved in international development cooperation, specifically non-profit/non-governmental organizations. She pursued this interest in the context of her dissertation research at the University of Groningen/ICS, which focused on the professionalization of management in an international humanitarian organization: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/ Doctors without Borders. Encompassing four studies, her dissertation titled “Between Cause and Control – Management in a Humanitarian Organization” constitutes a comprehensive examination of MSF’s relation to its employees and its environment. The former is addressed by two studies: firstly, an in depth assessment of MSF’s human resource management policies, and secondly, an analysis of the effects of MSF’s socialization program on new recruits’ perception and performance. External relations in turn are analyzed with regard to the challenge of retaining professionals with ample alternative employment opportunities outside the organization and the sector, and in terms of MSF’s reputation building and legitimation strategies. Following this in depth case study research, as a postdoctoral researcher at the PACS, Valeska broadened her focus to the field level. Cooperating with Woody Powell, she is currently involved in a project on the dissemination of performance evaluation and monitoring systems in the nonprofit sector.