Research: Selected Works

Below you will find a selection of projects I have been working on. Please contact me if you are interested in obtaining complete papers.

  • The Legislative Matching Game: Committee Matching and Effective Legislating in the States,” Forthcoming in State Policy & Politics Quarterly.

ABSTRACT: I argue that the value of a particular set of committee assignments for a legislator is dependent on that legislator’s policy interests. By this, I mean that “good” assignments will match committee policy jurisdictions with member policy priorities. I develop this concept of committee-agenda matching and present a measure of this match for legislators in 12 state lower chambers. After some brief measure validation, I present a substantive application, demonstrating that this match poses serious consequences for individual legislator’s ability to shepherd their bills through the legislative process.

Supplemental Materials  /  Replication Materials

  • “All Economics Is Local: Spatial Aggregations of Economic Information” (with David Fortunato & Laron Williams), Political Science Research and Methods, 2018.

ABSTRACT: National economic indicators play a foundational role on political economic research, particularly in regards to electoral politics. Yet scholars have failed to recognize that national economic indicators are simply aggregations of local economic information, and the manner in which they are aggregated may not be consistent with the process voters use to acquire, access and incorporate economic information. We argue that the economic similarities among localities, and the way in which the media report on these similarities, provide more theoretically satisfying means of specifying how local information aggregates into an overall portrait of the national economy. We introduce a novel estimation procedure called the spatial-X ordered logit (SLX-OL) that offers the chance to model how voters’ evaluations respond to changes in contextualized economic information. Our results support our theory that voters incorporate economic information from other localities with similarly-structured economies and in ways that are shaped by media messages. Furthermore, these two specifications offer greater explanatory power than national indicators and other geographical means of aggregating economic information. We conclude by offering a number of implications for research questions ranging from electoral accountability to spatial diffusion processes.

Online Appendix

  • “Term Limits and Collaboration Across the Aisle: An Analysis of Bipartisan Cosponsorship in Term Limited and Non-Term Limited State Legislatures” (with Kathryn VanderMolen), State Politics & Policy Quarterly, June 2016.

ABSTRACT: As members of democratic institutions, state legislators must frequently collaborate with each other to achieve their varied goals. Given the increased attention to questions of polarization and gridlock, scholars should be particularly interested in understanding legislator decisions to collaborate across party lines. This paper is primarily concerned with how institutional arrangements–specifically term limits–structure legislators’ decisions to cosponsor bills with partisan opponents. Using data on bill cosponsorship from 41 states (82 chambers), we demonstrate that term limits reduce bipartisan cosponsorship even when controlling for average legislative tenure. We argue that term limits accomplish this by altering the incentives that legislators face. Additionally, we demonstrate that the effect of term limits depends on the level of legislative professionalization. When professionalization is high, the negative effect of term limits on bipartisan cosponsorship is particularly pronounced.

Online Appendix and Replication Materials