A Virginia native, Israel Marques is an assistant professor of Political Science at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia and a research fellow at the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development, an international laboratory at the NRU – HSE. His research addresses two fundamental questions in comparative politics. When do governments provide social policy programs to their populations and who supports such programs? Ideally, social policy is an important economic tool that encourages skill investment, eases coordination dilemmas between employers and workers, and provides a vital safety net. Often, however, it is used as a tool for buying political support. Who supports social policy is critical for understanding which of these goals it can serve, as well as for understanding specific policy choices. The micro-foundations of social policy therefore touch on questions central to work on the welfare state, distributive politics, and political institutions. His work can be roughly divided into three areas – the micro-foundations of support for social policy, business-state relations, and distributive politics (the use of public funds to generate political support). His main regional focus is on the post-communist countries of Europe and Asia.

His dissertation explores public opinion with respect to welfare state policies in developing countries. What sorts of social policies do individuals and firms want and how do they want them to be provided? Do individuals and firms want the state to take the lead in providing social policies or do they prefer employer-based systems? How does variation in institutional quality across countries alter demand for welfare state structures? Answers to these questions allow us to understand who supports the welfare state and is an important piece in understanding the trajectory of welfare state formation and reform across time. This work also has important implications for our understanding of political and economic development, business-state relations, and distributive politics more broadly. His other work touches on related questions, including the use of public-private partnerships to reform skill formation and shape the labor market, business lobbying strategies in Russia, and distributive politics in Russia.

Israel received his Ph.D from Columbia University in 2016. Prior to that, he graduated with honors from Dartmouth College in 2007 with a dual degree in Government and History modified. He currently lives with his wife and child in Moscow, Russia.

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