The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University is pleased to announce that Jennifer Pan has been appointed to the position of FSI Senior Fellow, effective September 1. The appointment is concurrent with her promotion to professor at Stanford’s Department of Communication.
At FSI, Pan will work primarily within the Center on China’s Economy and Institutions (SCCEI) and will also be affiliated with the Cyber Policy Center. Her research focuses on political communication and authoritarian politics. She uses experimental and computational methods with large-scale datasets on political activity in China and other authoritarian regimes to answer questions about how autocrats perpetuate their rule; how political censorship, propaganda, and information manipulation work in the digital age; and how peoples’ preferences and behaviors are shaped as a result.
“Jennifer is not only a leading scholar on political communication and authoritarian politics, she’s a terrific teacher as well,” said FSI Director Michael McFaul. “I’m excited to see how her innovative approach will intersect and impact research throughout the institute, as well as our students in the classroom.”
Scott Rozelle, co-director of SCCEI, added: "Jennifer is at the forefront of research in her field, conducting groundbreaking empirical research that uses the unique lens of communication to build understanding of China’s economy and its impact on the world. In the past year alone, Jennifer gave several lectures to our SCCEI community, all of which drew large audiences and sparked lively discussion. We are thrilled to have her officially join our team and I can’t wait to see where her research takes her next."
Pan’s book, “Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers,” shows how China’s pursuit of political order transformed the country’s main social assistance program, Dibao, for repressive purposes. Her work has appeared in peer-reviewed publications such as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, and Science.
“Jennifer Pan is one of the most exciting, creative and innovative scholars in the field of social media and network analysis,” said Nathaniel Persily, co-director of the Cyber Policy Center. “She has written foundational works relating to the internet in China and has very important research underway concerning the effect of social media on politics in the United States.”
Pan graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University in 2004 and obtained a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2015. Prior to Stanford, Pan was a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She was also a fellow at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences from 2019 to 2020.