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  Local-level governance and environmental protection in Brazil


   Department of Politics and International Relations

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

About the Project

 Local authorities are often the ones in charge of taking substantive measures to protect the environment. Yet, the existing scholarship has devoted scant attention to how local-level actors deal with climate change. To work on a project aiming to fill this gap in the context of Brazil, a major player in the global fight against climate change and a federal system where local authorities enjoy considerable discretion to decide on policy, the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading seeks to appoint an outstanding and highly motivated Ph.D. candidate for three full years (36 months).

As the conservation of the Amazon is paramount in the fight against global warming - the Amazon rainforest is one of the world’s largest land “carbon sinks” - whether, how, and when policies to protect the environment are implemented in Brazil matters. Crucially, as in a typical federal system where the authority over policy is shared with subnational government entities, the country’s credible commitment to environmental protection heavily depends on what authorities implement locally. 

Brazil, thus, offers a suitable institutional setting to ask open yet crucial questions in the scholarship: Under what conditions do local governments adopt policies to protect the environment? What political and economic factors account for the adoption of regulations and policy instruments to tackle climate change? Are policies adopted at the local level effective in promoting environmental protection? How do policies enacted by local governments contribute to the country's national efforts to foster environmental protection? Addressing these questions is relevant to scholars, practitioners, policymakers, and stakeholders. 

Under the supervision of Dr. Victor Araújo, a scholar interested in the politics of non-Western regions of the world and an expert in Brazil, the successful candidate will participate in the construction, consolidation, and analysis of a unique and granular municipal-level panel dataset using administrative and archival records from Brazilian local authorities. This data will be analyzed using quantitative methods and applications of data science (i.e., programming and machine learning techniques). Therefore, those with solid training in applied statistics and notions of programming in R, Python, or Stata are particularly encouraged to apply. Motivated candidates interested in climate politics and holding a MA, MSc, or MPhil in Politics, Economics, Public Policy, Social Policy, Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, and Data Journalism are welcome to apply for this role. 

Eligibility requirements 

Motivated candidates interested in climate politics and holding a MA, MSc, or MPhil in Politics, Economics, Public Policy, Social Policy, Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, and Data Journalism are welcome to apply for this role. Those with solid training in applied statistics and notions of programming in R, Python, or Stata are particularly encouraged to apply.


Computer Science (8) Economics (10) Environmental Sciences (13) Mathematics (25) Politics & Government (30)

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