Welcome to the 2018-2019 CSDP seminar series. On September 13th, the 2018-2019 cohort of CSDP fellows will briefly introduce themselves and their research agendas:
Jacob Grumbach's (UC Berkeley PhD 2018) research interests include business and labor, racial and economic inequality, American federalism, health policy, and the politics of climate change. Jake's dissertation investigates the roles of public opinion, organized interests, and campaign finance in the nationalization of state politics over the past two decades. During 2018-2019 at CSDP, Jake will continue work on his book project, Upside Down Federalism, which addresses the resurgence of the state level as the major partisan policymaking venue in American federalism over the past four decades. He will also extend his research agenda on interest groups, public policy, and inequality.
Kevin Munger (NYU PhD 2018) is a member of the Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) lab. His dissertation studies the political implications of new forms of communication enabled by the internet and social media. This work involves developing innovative methods for performing online behavioral experiments and creating new ways to use text as data. His research analyzes the way that new media technologies have changed elite political communication and mass political behavior in the US. Kevin’s research agenda for 2018-2019 at CSDP has two components, one methodological and the other substantive. The former entails formalizing and publishing the framework he developed for performing online behavioral experiments with Twitter bots. Kevin’s substantive interest is in understanding how the changing media environment online affects how people choose what news media to consume and, in particular, how heterogeneous these effects are on different types of people.
Rachel Augustine Potter is an Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include American political institutions, regulation, public policy, public administration, and the influence of separation of powers on bureaucratic decision-making. Her current book project, Bending the Rules: Procedural Politics in the American Administrative State, addresses how bureaucrats use procedures to exercise power during the notice-and-comment rulemaking process.
Rachel received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2014. Before becoming a full-time political scientist, she worked for a number of governmental institutions, including the White House Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior. While at CSDP, Rachel will develop two articles, which will form the core of her second book project on the politics of government outsourcing: The Political Economy of Outsourcing in the American States -- Do specific political conditions make it more or less likely that a state government will outsource services it has traditionally provided?; and Savings at What Cost? Government Outsourcing and the Public Trust – What are the political costs of state government outsourcing?
Sebastian Thieme's (NYU PhD 2018) research is concentrated in the areas of American Politics and Political Methodology, with a focus on how U.S. political institutions moderate interactions between elected officials and private interests. His dissertation research explores longstanding questions in U.S. politics, including (1) the extent to which interest groups and corporations contribute to polarization; (2) the determinants of PAC contributions to candidates; and (3) the nature of agenda control in legislatures. A separate project develops a novel theory of variation in issue emphasis by candidates across different stages of the election cycle, and tests the theory’s empirical implications.
At CSDP, Sebastian will pursue additional questions raised by his dissertation, especially concerning different lobbying strategies that are employed by business interests. For example: What determines whether business interests seek short- vs. long-term access to legislators, and how does this affect their success in seeking to influence legislation? Furthermore, to what extent are legislators responsive to voters or private interests?
Danielle Thomsen is an Assistant Professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2014. Before joining the Syracuse faculty, Danielle was a post-doctoral fellow in the Political Institutions and Public Choice Program (PIPC) at Duke University.
Danielle’s research interests include American politics, political parties, U.S. Congress, and gender and politics. She has just completed a book that examines the rise of partisan polarization in Congress, titled Opting Out of Congress: Partisan Polarization and the Decline of Moderate Candidates (New York: Cambridge University Press). The central argument is that the benefits of serving in Congress today are too low for moderates to run, further exacerbating the ideological gulf between the two parties. Another aspect of her research analyzes contemporary patterns of women’s representation in politics and why the number of Democratic women in Congress has increased dramatically since the 1980s while the number of Republican women has barely grown.
While at CSDP in 2018-2019, Danielle will complete her second book project, which delves into the theoretical concept of a political candidacy, exploring what counts as a candidacy and illustrating how our assessment of electoral competition depends on our measures of a candidate, and then examines how non-ballot candidates influence the quality of democratic representation. The goal of her second book project is to provide a broader and more comprehensive picture of political competition in contemporary American elections, with implications for scholars of comparative politics as well as democratic theorists.