Clareta Treger, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Policy, Elections, and Representation Lab (PEARL)

Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and the Department of Political Science,

University of Toronto


I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Policy, Elections, and Representation Lab (PEARL) at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. I received my PhD in Political Science from Tel Aviv University in 2023. 

I study the political behavior of citizens and elites using quantitative methods. My core research interest focuses on the determinants of attitudes toward government intervention and policies, positioning my work at the intersection of political science and public policy. 

A core research theme I pursue is attitudes toward government paternalism, namely policies that aim to “save citizens from themselves.” I examine this question comparatively from both the publics and the elite’s perspectives. I am particularly interested in the conditions under which coercive policies may be preferred to non-coercive alternatives (such as nudges). To date, I have experimentally examined public attitudes toward paternalism in the U.S. and Israel, during regular times and crises (such as the Covid-19 pandemic). Currently, I am exploring the attitudes of local incumbent politicians toward such policies and their perceptions of public preferences. 

A second research theme is the debate around the role of partisanship versus policy information in the formation of policy preferences. This taps into a central debate on the importance of political affiliation in opinion formation, and specifically the respective roles of partisanship and policy information in driving attitudes. While evidence is mixed, many studies point to the pivotal role of party cues, especially in the polarized American political context. I join this strand of research and examine the conditions that attenuate or amplify the role of partisan signals as compared to policy content with respect to preferences for public policy, in the U.S., Israel, and Canada.

My broader research interests include voting behavior, elite behavior, public policy, representation, and democratic attitudes. I employ surveys and experimental designs in my work. My research has been published in Public Opinion Quarterly, Regulation & Governance, and European Political Science.  

Currently, I am a co-PI of the European Panel of Local Officials project, which studies the political behavior of municipal representatives in Denmark, France, Italy, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. We examine affective polarization, preferences toward evidence-based policy, and attitudes toward government paternalism, among other issues related to local governance. 

As a doctoral candidate, I was a researcher at the Israel National Election Studies (INES) project and the ISF Center of Excellence Looking beyond the Crisis of Democracy: Patterns of Representation in Israeli Elections," between 2018-2022, and a predoctoral fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University (2020-2021).

My CV can be found here.

I hold a B.A. in Philosophy and Middle Eastern History (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Haifa, and an M.A. in Political Science (Magna Cum Laude) from Tel Aviv University. 

When I am not engaged in academic work, I enjoy reading fiction, practicing yoga, running, and mountain climbing.