Charlotte Cavaillé

Charlotte Cavaillé
Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor

Charlotte Cavaillé is a research fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Toulouse. In December 2016, she is starting as an Assistant Professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Cavaillé received a PhD in Government and Social Policy from Harvard University in November 2014.

She studies comparative politics and the political economy of advanced capitalist countries drawing heavily from the political behavior literature developed by students of American politics.

Her current research stems from a long standing interest in the social and political processes behind the emergence, expansion and transformation of what T.H.Marshall called “social rights.” In her dissertation, she examines changes in mass attitudes toward redistributive social policies in advanced capitalist economies. More specifically, she studies the impact of changing individual and contextual economic conditions, policy design and elite-level framing on individual-level support for social policies, income redistribution and government intervention.

Her other research interests include the study of American politics in a comparative perspective, with a focus on the political consequences of growing income inequality and the analysis of social policy reform, especially in Continental Europe. In the past, she has also done research in the UK and France on state policy towards Muslim minorities.

Regarding research methodology, Cavaille is interested in best practices for the study of causal relationships that play out on the medium to long run. In her work, she relies on observational and experimental data to address the holy grail of social science, namely the relationship between macro phenomena and individual-level behavioral patterns (one famous attempt is Coleman’s bathtub graph reproduced here).

Before moving to the US, she did her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Sciences-po in Paris where she graduated with an M.A in Political Science (with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies). She spent her third year at the University of Chicago, an experience that introduced her to the world of American academia. Soon enough she was back in the US, this time for a PhD.

  • Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA 2008-14 Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy (Nov. 2014)
  • Sciences-Po Paris (Institut d’Etudes Politiques), Paris, France 2003-08 M.Phil in Comparative Politics and Middle Eastern Studies (Sept. 2008)
  • B.A. in Political Science (June 2006)
  • Selected for a yearlong international exchange program in political science and economics with the University of Chicago (Sept. 2005- June 2006)

Selected Publications


“Support for the Welfare State in Western Democracies: The Two Dimensions of Redistributive Attitudes” (with Kris-Stella Trump), The Journal of Politics 77(1): 146-160 (2015).

Book Project

Coping with the End of Abundance: Social Policy Preferences in Mature Welfare States

Working Papers

“Deservingness, Self-Interest and the Welfare State: Why Some Care More about Deservingness than Others and Why It Matters” Under Review

“Contextual and Individual Determinants of Economic Preferences: Evidence from Panel Data” (with Anja Neundorf)

“Regulating Free-Riding: How Differences in Moral Reasoning Shape Support for Redistributive Social Policies” “Ethnic Diversity and Support for Universal Health Care: Evidence from British Panel Data”