Omar Wasow



Curriculum Vitae


Select Working Papers:

  • “Text as Behavior”
    ABSTRACT: Text analysis typically focuses on content—such as sentiment or topic—but writing is also a form of effortful action. Building on this insight, I propose using simple features of open-ended writing tasks to study *text as behavior.* This approach treats writing as cognitively and emotionally “costly” for subjects but inexpensive for researchers. I show basic statistics like the number of characters can approximate effort and significantly improve estimation of quantities of interest, from the probability of turning out to vote, to psychological states about which a subject may not be fully aware. Further, these methods can convert nonresponse into informative data; validate survey instruments; serve as mechanism checks; be hard for a subject to “game”; work across different languages and analogize well to real-world situations. In sum, text as behavior can help address a range of issues related to quantifying attitudes and actions.


  • Unrest, 2017. Executive Producer of Sundance award-winning and Oscar-shortlisted documentary directed by Jennifer Brea. Film certified for continuing medical education credits and used in both research and clinical settings. Watch on YouTube.


  • Stanley Kelley, Jr. Teaching Award, Department of Politics, Princeton University. 2019.
  • Bobst Faculty Research Grant, Bobst Center, Princeton University. 2015-16.
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Project on Justice, Welfare and Economics, Harvard University. 2011-12.
  • Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellowship, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University. 2010-11.
  • Henry Crown Fellowship, Aspen Institute. 2008-10.
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation. 2007-10.


  • FRS165: Projecting Power
    • Description: First-year seminar on ethnic politics that combined traditional political science texts and film
    • Syllabus
    • Evaluations:
  • POL346: Applied Quantitative Analysis
    • Description: Second semester undergrad stats
    • Syllabus, slides and handouts
    • Evaluations in 2020:
      • 100% would recommend course to other students (77% “strongly recommend” and 23% “recommend”)
      • Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5
      • Full course evaluation for 2020
    • Evaluations in 2019:
      • 95% would recommend course to other students (81% “strongly recommend” and 14% “recommend”)
      • Overall rating: 4.7 out of 5
      • Full course evaluation for 2019
  • GOV30: American Government (while grad student at Harvard)
    • Description: Intro to American Government
    • Evaluations:

Book Project:

  • The Protester’s Dilemma: How 1960s Black Protests Influenced Media and Politics.

Other Working Papers:

  • “Conditional ethnocentrism: Experimental evidence from protests in the United States.”
  • “How Anti-Immigrant Policies and Rhetoric Angers and Mobilizes Latinos,” with Nicholas Valentino, Ali Valenzuela and Matt Barreto. (Presented at APSA 2019)
  • “Affluent politics and the rise of Trump,” with Tali Mendelberg and Sean Kates.
  • “The Boundaries of Black Voting,” with Brandon McGhee.
  • “Election Effects, Perceptions of Immigration Context and Self-Reported General and Mental Health among Latinos and Whites in the United States,” with Ali Valenzuela and Krista Perriera.

Google Scholar

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at UC Berkeley. I received a PhD in African American Studies, an MA in Government and an MA in Statistics from Harvard University. Previously, I co-founded and the Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School. I can be reached at owasow -at- gmail -dot- com.

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