Faculty Research Director
Project Team Leads
President Trump’s trade war with China proved to be detrimental to a wide swatch of US companies, yet resistance to the trade war remained limited to a handful of well-connected firms. To better understand the constraints to corporate political action, the Trade War Project conducts a series of field experiments targeted at chambers of commerce and managers of US-based firms in which we are randomly providing different prompts. These include new information with original estimates of the costs of the trade war to their industry, a charge to bring down inflation, and a prompt that the tariffs are from Trump or Biden to activate political partisanship. Outcomes measure the chambers’ or firms’ willingness to take political action to oppose the trade war, such as organizing other firms, signing petitions, sending messages to members of Congress, or donating to advocacy groups.
Project Team Co-Leads
IPD Project Team Leader
Danny Cowser is a PhD Candidate in the UT Department of Government and holds an MA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Danny current leads a number of IPD project teams, including Government Responsiveness, Governance -Trade Wars, and Refugee Housing. Danny also co-leads the Peacebuilding Team with Jiseon Change and serves as instructor of the GOVT/IPD Research Practicum.
Micah Mari Aquitania is a third-year undergraduate student at UT Austin, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Government, with a minor in Business & Public Policy, and a minor in Philosophy of Law. As part of the Trade War team, she has helped develop an electoral map to gauge the political leanings of counties in the United States. Other research interests include climate change attitudes and broadly international political economies. In her free time, she enjoys canoeing and spending time with her cat.
Christoffer Højmark Thomsen is an exchange student at the Department of Government at UT Austin. He is originally from Aarhus University, Denmark, where he is in his final year of his master’s program in Political Science. His research interests include broadly international political economy, European Affairs, and financial regulation. After graduation, Christoffer plans to search for a job in the Danish government. He will be working on the Trade Wars project team.
Melanie Hsieh is a junior studying Physics, Government and also a Jefferson’s scholar. Melanie is currently a research analyst at IPD’s Trade War team. Previously she was a research intern at George H. W. Bush Foundation. Her main interest is in the intersection of U.S.-China relations and emerging technology, specifically in artificial intelligence and biosecurity.
Lilly is a sophomore majoring in Plan II Honors and Economics with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. She discusses civic discourse as a member of the Society of Fellows and has facilitated major green energy, carbon-negative projects during her summer internships with Fidelis New Energy. She studies finance and the stock market as a member of the Texas Equity Group and volunteers to read to elementary students with the Reading Aces. Her passions include baking unnecessarily difficult recipes, learning obscure historical facts, and laughing at silly stories of her three cats causing trouble at home in Houston.
John Ory is a second-year student majoring in Government and Economics and pursuing a certificate in Public Policy. He went to Terrell High School before coming to UT and has been with the Trade War team for the past year. When not being a Trade Warrior or researching various political maps, you’ll find him on the Texas Speech Team or at home with his dog, Biscuits.
Ruixun Zhang is a third-year undergraduate currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics. Passionate about international political economy，Ruixun joined the IPD and learned valuable quantitative tools within the Trade War team. He’s also a student researcher in China-Russia Research Center for the Digital Economy(中俄数字经济研究中心), tracking the forefront of global AI technology and its regulatory demands, as well as the economic development of BRICS. Apart from his academic and internship experience, Ruixun also curated excellent skills in badminton and copywriting.