FALL 2015 SEMINARS - December 2 2015

Seminar on Iranian Studies

Dear Iranian Studies Seminar Members and Guests,
The fourth meeting of the 28th consecutive year of Columbia University Seminar on
Iranian Studies for the academic year 2015-2016 will take place on:

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
at 5:30 pm in the
Faculty House of Columbia University

The speaker will be
Dr. Navid Hassanpour, Columbia University
Who will lead the discussion on:

Modernization Theory and Development Without Democracy:
Evidence from Elections to the Iranian National Assembly 1906-1975

We will gather in the lounge of Faculty House from 5:00-5:30.
Seminar will start at 5:30.
Please notify our Rapporteur, Josiah Bethards, at jjb2190@columbia.edu, if you will attend the lecture. (Please also specify if you will stay for dinner.)

We are looking forward to the pleasure of seeing you at the seminar.
Co-Chairs: Vahid Nowshirvani and Ahmad Ashraf

To reach the Faculty House:
Enter the Wien Hall Gate on 116th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. Walk past Wien Hall, then turn right to the Faculty House.


What are the conditions under which development does not breed democracy? To provide an answer, I propose a novel and minimal model of authoritarian elections in relation to the economy of power-sharing. Using primary archival material, I construct a novel district-level panel dataset of more than 3000 parliamentary elections to the Iranian National Assembly spanning over 70 years, combine the electoral statistics with detailed district-level socioeconomic data from the country’s first three national censuses, exploit The White Revolution, the Shah’s far-reaching modernizing attempt, as an intervention, and use matching and multilevel mixed effects models with a variety of robustness checks to test Modernization Theory’s main premise. The findings demonstrate a decline of at least 7% in the rates of electoral turnout as a result of the reforms. Labor growth in the agrarian and industrial sectors are shown to exert significant influence on the turnout, in opposite directions.

About the Speaker

Navid Hassanpour studies politics in hybrid regimes: collective action and elections under authoritarianism leading to social revolutions or stable electoral institutions. He holds Ph.D.s in Political Science from Yale (2014), and in Electrical Engineering from Stanford (2006). Last year, he was a Niehaus Fellow at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. At Columbia University he teaches thesis research seminar at QMSS (Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences) program while finishing his book Leading from the Periphery: The Network Dynamics of Decentralized Collective Action, forthcoming in 2016 from Cambridge University Press. His ongoing archival work in Tehran, Saint Petersburg, Nanjing and Istanbul examines the inception of electoral institutions at the era of Constitutional Revolutions.

Josiah Bethards
JD candidate
Columbia Law School