Primary Day Campaign Yard Signs in Pennsylvania's 13th District -- May 21, 2015

Primary Day Campaign Yard Signs in Pennsylvania's 13th District -- May 21, 2015

Campaign Contribution Networks

Much of the scholarship on political parties has focused on their declining influence. More specifically, through the widespread adoption of the partisan primary, political parties have lost control of the nomination process. In one  paper [1], I challenge this conclusion by demonstrating the influence of party networks on the outcome of partisan primaries. Using campaign finance data for all candidates for the House of Representatives from 1982 - 2014, I show that candidates with greater party network support are more successful in their pursuit of the nomination, even after controlling for traditional measures of success, such as fundraising and candidate quality. In two other papers, I describe the changing structure both between the party networks [2] and within them [3]. 

Working Papers

[1] "We Don't Want Nobody Nobody Sent: Party Network Influence in Primary Nominations.'' 2017. Presented at MPSA 2018. 

[2] "Dividing the Dollars: Contribution Networks and Political Polarization." 2017. Presented at MPSA 2017. 

[3] "Campaign Contributions and the Extended Party Network." 2017.  

Regressive Reforms

From polarization to inequality, from corruption to prejudice, reforms to the political process are often presented as cures to many societal shortcomings. These policies, however, usually have unintended consequences ignored by reformers and the evidence of their effectiveness is often lacking. For example, the Top-Two Primary system and Instant-Runoff Voting have been proposed in California and Maine to help alleviate polarization. In one paper [1] based on simulations and survey data, I show that these voting methods are unlikely to moderate outcomes and have the unintended consequence of decreasing voter turnout. Future work will focus on the impact of term limits on legislative productivity and interest group influence. 

[1] Electoral Reform and Political Polarization: A Simulation-Based Look at the Top-Two Primary." 2017. Presented at MPSA 2018. Under Review 

Parties on the Ground

A holistic approach to the study of House Nominations during the 2014 primary election cycle. Co-authored with Kathleen Bawn, Knox Brown, Angela Ocampo, John Ray, and John Zaller. 

Working Papers

"Parties on the Ground: A Preliminary Report on Open Seat Nominations." 2014. Presented at APSA 2014. 

"Social Choice and Coordination Problems in Open House Primaries." 2015. Presented at APSA 2015. 

Congressional Primary Exit Polls

The first exit poll of congressional primary voters from four competitive House primaries in the 2014 primary election cycle. Co-authored with Stephanie DeMora, Andrew Dowdle, Spencer Hall, Mark Meyers, Angela Ocampo, and John Zaller. 

Working Papers

"He Who Can Make Nominations is the Owner of the Party: Evidence from Field Studies of Four House Nominations." 2015. Presented at APSA 2015. 

Demographics and Discretion

Do racial demographics influence how welfare policies are implemented? Despite a wide literature showing the negative relationship between size of minority populations and the generosity of welfare programs, these measures rely on limits set by legislation. By looking at the implementation of TANF programs, the conclusions become more complicated -- whether the outcome is measured by the average benefits actually received, the likelihood of an application being accepted, or the probability of experiencing sanctions, the influence of demographics is either severely muted, or not at all. 

Working Papers

"Discretion and Design: Racial Influences on TANF Implementation." 2017. Presented at APSA 2017. Under Review. 

Combat Experience and Political Preferences

On issues of foreign policy, do veterans behave differently than other members of Congress? Existing literature that explores the voting records of veteran representatives focuses on the post-Vietnam era, in which the diminishing number of representatives with military experience show little differentiation on foreign policy voting. But is “military service” a uniform experience? This paper further explores the link between military service as a crucial shaper of beliefs by examining potential differences between veteran-representatives with combat experience, those that served in non-combat capacities, and those with no military experience at all. By utilizing a dataset consisting of Senate biographies from 1789 to present, we systematically compare the effect of particular military experiences on roll call votes regarding foreign policy proposals. 

Working Papers

"Warriors as Politicians: The Effect of Combat Experience on Congressional Voting." 2016. with Soumi Chatterjee. Presented at MPSA 2016.