My research is concentrated in the areas of American Politics and Political Methodology, with a focus on legislative politics, lobbying and interest groups, and how institutions moderate interactions between politicians and private interests.
In my dissertation, I make use of state-level lobbying disclosures to jointly estimate the policy preferences of special interests and legislators, allowing me to examine (1) the extent to which interest groups and corporations contribute to polarization; (2) whether campaign contributions by political action committees (PACs) are motivated by access-seeking or ideology; and (3) the nature of agenda control in legislatures.
Following up on this research, my job market paper reveals the position-taking behavior of most corporations and trade groups to be more heterogeneous and conservative than what would be implied by their contribution behavior. An abridged version of this paper is forthcoming at the Journal of Politics.
The fact that positions from the state-level disclosures are also recorded on bills that do not receive floor consideration permits me to estimate the ideological locations of status quo policies for bills that are kept off the agenda, as well as for bills that receive floor consideration. In my paper on legislative gatekeeping, I employ these estimates for rigorous empirical tests of agenda control theories, with results that show how parties use legislative institutions to control the agenda, and influence the political process in lower chambers.
In a separate project, I develop a novel theory of variation in issue emphasis by candidates across different stages of the election cycle, and test the theory’s empirical implications with a quasi-experimental analysis of observational data.
I invite you to have a closer look at my research.