Steven Matthew Oliver

Social Sciences (Political Science)

Assistant Professor

Contact No.: +65 6601-3243

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Assistant Professor Steven Matthew Oliver obtained his BS in Management Science at the University of California, San Diego in 2006. His MA and PhD in Political Science were also awarded by UC San Diego in 2010 and 2014, respectively. After a 15-year absence from Singapore, Asst Prof Oliver joined Yale-NUS College as a faculty member in 2014.

Asst Prof Oliver’s research spans the political science sub-fields of comparative politics and international relations, with a regional focus on East Asia, specifically on China.

In his current research in comparative politics, Asst Prof Oliver studies the perverse incentives for sub-national officials in China’s top-down political system to manipulate environmental data reported to leaders above and the public below as well as the consequences of their actions. His research traces these incentives back to top-down accountability institutions and uses data and methods from literature in environmental economics to detect evidence of manipulation as well as demonstrate its institutional roots. His research also uses social media data collected during periods of abysmal air quality in China’s rapidly expanding urban centres to demonstrate the importance of bottom-up pressure in explaining subsequent policy responsiveness by leaders, despite the absence of bottom-up accountability institutions like competitive, multi-party elections.

For his research in international relations, Asst Prof Oliver studies the political economy of transnational organised crime by examining the causes and consequences of maritime piracy. His research focuses on the economic and political effects of sudden and substantial inflows of illicit foreign capital resulting from the payment of ransoms as well as how shocks to labour markets in littoral states influence the ability of criminal organisations to recruit labour and engage in piracy. His research has been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution.

“The Political Economy of Plunder: Economic Opportunity and Modern Piracy”.  Journal of Conflict Resolution (with Ryan Jablonski), 54(7), 2013.

Introduction to International Relations
Introduction to Comparative Politics