My research focuses on two broad areas: legislative institutions and political methodology. My current research (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler) explores how personality and ideology come together to shape legislative behavior. We have developed the first-ever estimates of legislator personality over time and show how these predict a wide range of legislative behavior. This project is an inherently interdisciplinary enterprise, drawing insight from political science, psychology, experimental economics, and machine learning.
Additionally, I am working on a number of collaborative projects. The first of these is with Lawrence Rothenberg, in which we analyze the donation behavior of nonprofit foundations to environmental NGOs. Using social network analysis and zero-inflated log-normal utility threshold item response models, we are able to disentangle the motivations behind foundation giving and NGO adaptation. The other projects include an experimental study on the effects of valence factors on candidate evaluations (co-authored with Jonathan Klingler and Gary Hollibaugh), a project unifying survey and roll call approaches to the study of legislator-voter ideological matching, and a paper on measuring the effects of party loyalty on committee assignments (with Nicole Asmussen).
Talking Heads: Measuring Elite Personality Using Speech (with Jonathan Klingler and Gary Hollibaugh; Forthcoming at Political Science Research & Methods)
Vox Populi, Vox Dei? Crowdsourced Ideal Point Estimation. 2016. Journal of Politics 78 (1), 281-295.
Weighing the Alternatives: Preferences, Parties, and Constituency in Roll Call Voting. 2015. Journal of Politics 77 (2), 421-432.
Bringing the Minority Back to the Party: A Theory of Majority and Minority Parties in Congress. 2014. Journal of Theoretical Politics 27 (1): 132-150.
National Survival and the Confederate Congress. 2013. Historical Methods 46 (1): 31-40.
What I Like About You: Legislator Personality and Legislator Approval (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler; Revise and Resubmit at Political Behavior)
When Loyalty Tested: Do Party Leaders Use Committee Assignments as Rewards? (with Nicole Asmussen; Revise and Resubmit at American Politics Research)
Welcome to the Machine (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler; Under Review)
Will I stay or Will I Go? Conscientiousness and Lame Duck Absenteeism (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler)
- A piece by me summarizing the work by me at the Washington Post Monkey Cage
- Andrew Prokop's write-up over at Vox (Ezra Klein's new venture) on the paper
- Jonathan Bernstein's link at Bloomberg
The Tangled Web of Policy Support: Foundations and Environmental NGOs (with Larry Rothenberg; Under Revision)
A Sense of His Soul: Candidate Imagery, Signaling and Voting Intent (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler; Under Revision)
A World without the Filibuster: Alas, More of the Same (Under Revision)
Filibusted: The Role of Generational Differences in Obstructionist Behavior in the U.S. Senate