Matt Pearce’s UCI Merge

The multitalented Matt Pearce has created a fantastic new Stata tool called “UCI Merge”, which facilitates the merging of cross-national datasets.

Check it out:

As many know first-hand, assembling and organizing large cross-national datasets is time-consuming, frustrating, and often error-prone.  Matt’s new tool will help automate the process and save countless hours of tedious work.

As an aside:  One of the reasons the Stanford world society/world polity research group has been so productive over many decades is the cumulation of expertise with cross-national datasets (as well as the sharing of data more generally).  Knowledge about data was passed down through many generations of graduate students.  I personally benefitted tremendously from the generosity of Marc Ventresca.  Marc taught me all about how to organize datasets, and helped me figure out the big datasets that had been previously assembled at Stanford.  (I remember asking “What is this variable called newid3?”)  Anyhow, Matt has continued this important tradition of generosity with his knowledge and expertise.

An excerpt from the README file is below.  This is new, so please report bugs or problems to Matt so they can be fixed.  And, consider buying Matt a beer at ASA…  He has earned it.

# UCIMerge – a framework for harmonizing cross national time series data

## Read Me
UCIMerge is a framework in STATA to standardize the merging of international comparative datasets. This project creates conventions and a library of functions so that it becomes easier and faster to merge time series datasets, incorporate updates, make sure observations are consistent across years, conserve N and encourage reproducible research.

This framework came about from conversations at the [UC Irvine International Comparative Workshop](

Download the [latest release]( Join the [announcement list]( to receive notifications of updates.

## How to use UCIMerge

The first time you run the scripts, it will take an extremely long to update the datasets from the web. If you would like to jumpstart this, you can use this [starter pack]( by drop these files into the /source directory. If you want to force the system to refresh a dataset, just delete that dataset file from /source.

1. Set the UCIMerge folder as the working directory for STATA (‘cd ~/UCIMerge’)

2. Edit the file with the configuration that you would like.

3. Run ‘do master’ -> your new dataset will be opened and saved within the UCIMerge folder.

UCIMerge requires STATA 13. The .csv files which link countries across datasets can be used independently.

## Currently Supported Datasets

* [Norris 2009](
* [Freedom House 2015](
* [Polity IV](
* Polity IV Coups
* [World Development Indicators](
* [KOF Index of Globalization](
include lib/lied
* [The Lexical Index of Electoral Democracy (LIED)](
* [CIRI Human Rights Dataset](
* [Quality of Government Standard dataset](
* [Cross National Time Series](
* [Penn World Table version 8.1](

Dr. Rachael Russell, PhD

Rachael Russell successfully defended her dissertation last week!

It will go down in history as one of the most memorable defenses ever.  Rachael was not only calm and composed under difficult questioning from her committee, but she managed to stay cool during the FIRE ALARM that erupted in the middle of the defense.  I’m not kidding, the whole building was evacuated.  But, Rachael wasn’t flustered at all and picked up right where she left off when we returned to the seminar room.  That kind of poise definitely scores points during a defense.  :)

The dissertation is entitled “Constructing Global Womanhood: WINGOs, Women’s Ministries, and Women’s Empowerment.”

The project builds directly on Nitza Berkovitch’s terrific book “From Motherhood to Citizenship”, which examined the growth of international women’s organizations.  Rachael turns to many of the same issues, but with a quantitative lens.  She content-coded the aims of women’s INGOs and traces their aims and agendas.  Then, she does a standard world society diffusion analysis, showing that WINGOs (as well as other international factors, like ratification of CEDAW) accelerate the formation of national ministries devoted to women and gender issues.  Finally, she uses panel data models to show that those same international forces are also associated with improvements in the status of women, as measured by things like labor force participation and participation in higher education.  The project thus adds to the growing body of work showing that “world society” is not just associated with policy reform, but also seems to affect tangible outcomes.

Congratulations to Rachael!

Tricia Wins Academia

The other big news this month is that Tricia Bromley was hired at the Graduate School of Education at Stanford.

One look at her CV, and you’ll know why Stanford wanted Tricia back.  She has been producing great papers like crazy — such as her recent ASR with Amanda Sharkey on actorhood among US firms and her stream of outstanding comparative papers on school curricula.

Huge congrats to Tricia!

Stanford is quite a place to build a career, especially if you can come in with a big leg-up on tenure, as is the case here.  The status and resources are a enormous… but the really amazing thing about Stanford is the phenomenal people that are there or always coming across the transom.  A huge win for Tricia…

And, it is great to see the world society tradition staying so vital at Stanford, with John and Chiqui showing no signs of slowing down and two outstanding younger people (Tricia and Christine Wotipka) who bring lots of energy.

By coincidence, we are fortunate that Tricia will be visiting UCI this week to give a talk… something that was set up before the Stanford job came through.  Hopefully the trip won’t interrupt all her packing…

Soo-yong Byun tenured at PSU!

First, some wonderful news:  Last week Soo-yong told me he was promoted to associate professor with tenure at Penn State!

If anyone deserves tenure it is Soo-yong.  He is incredibly bright and motivated, and has a stunning publication record.  Last time I looked he had something like 40 refereed publications and almost a dozen chapters, with terrific pieces in Soc of Ed, Comparative Ed Review, AERJ, and so on…  He has already established himself as a leading scholar of comparative education, who has really contributed to our understanding of social capital, shadow education, and several other important topics.  But even if tenure is expected, it is always very exciting when the final news comes through.

Soo-yong is the very first student that I worked with who has earned tenure.  I had the pleasure of co-chairing his dissertation with Dave Chapman a the U of Minnesota.  It has been incredibly rewarding to watch Soo-yong launch his career right in front of my eyes.

Congratulations, Soo-yong!  Your accomplishments are well-deserved!

Back from the salt mines…

I’ve decided to get back to blogging again! I stopped mainly because I was feeling very much behind on things. I can’t say that I’m fully caught up — or even close to caught up — but I’ve cleared out several old projects that were really hanging over me.

So, more time for fun stuff!

Professor Shorette!

More good news:  Kristen Shorette will be joining SUNY Stony Brook next year as an assistant professor of sociology!

Kristen recently finished up her PhD here at UCI, having written a terrific dissertation on the global emergence of Fair Trade markets.  Stony Brook has had strength in global/transnational sociology for a long time.  Kristen, will find herself right at home there.

Kristen’s interview brought back some memories:  I actually had my very first job interview at Stony Brook, long ago.  I was very nervous, and didn’t get the job… but I nevertheless enjoyed the visit.  I got to meet people like Jackie Smith, Said Arjomand, Dianne Barthel, etc.  Since then, Stony Brook has continued to hire really smart global people like Tim Moran, Kiyo Tsutsui (now at Michigan), John Shandra, etc.  The Stony Brook department is a great fit for Kristen (and vice versa).

Congratulations Kristen!

Congratulations Shawn Wick

Belated congratulations to Shawn Wick, who successfully defended his dissertation earlier this fall!

The dissertation is titled “Missionaries of Modernization and Managers of Myth:  Organizational Legitimacy in the Field of International Development.”  The project takes the Peace Corp as a site to examine how development organizations describe themselves and craft narratives to maintain organizational legitimacy in the eyes of external constituencies as well as members of the organization.

The title gives hints at what drew Shawn to this project.  A Peace Corp volunteer prior to entering graduate school, Shawn was struck by the religious-like fervor common to many people and organizations in the development community.  This basic insight — that development is a culturally-infused domain — set the stage for his analysis of organizational narratives and the basis for the Peace Corp’s legitimacy.  Shawn finds that the original narrative developed at the Peace Corp’s inception has really stuck with the organization, and shaped how it has adapted to new political pressures in path dependent ways.

The dissertation is a great read.  Shawn is a terrific writer, and really conveys the feel of the milieu that the Peace Corp was operating in over the decades.

The Ron Aminzade and I were co-advisors, and Ann Hironaka and David Chapman were also on the committee.

I think all my University of Minnesota dissertation committees are wrapped up.  It has been great to see all the terrific students coming out of Minnesota… and to participate in some small way.  The grad program is really impressive (not to mention the faculty!).

Shawn is an assistant professor at Central College in Iowa… and now a PhD!  Congratulations, Shawn!