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.
Other research interests and projects focus on using machine learning, Bayesian approaches, and item response models to study legislative behavior and the extent to which elites are representative of the preferences of the masses.
More than a Feeling: Personality, Polarization, and the Transformation of the U.S. Congress (with Jonathan Klingler and Gary Hollibaugh). Published by the University of Chicago Press in April 2017.
The Grapes of Path Dependence: The Long-Run Political Impact of the Dust Bowl Migration. 2021. Journal of Historical Political Economy (special issue on historical persistence).
-- Press coverage:
- News story at The Washington Post
- Interview with KVPR
Attributes Beyond Attitudes: Measuring Personality Traits on the U.S. Supreme Court. 2021. Journal of Law & Courts 9(2), 345-368 (with Matthew Hall, Gary Hollibaugh, and Jonathan Klingler)
Considerations in Personality Measurement. 2021. Journal of Law & Courts 9(2), 397-405 (with Matthew Hall, Gary Hollibaugh, and Jonathan Klingler)
(Sympathy for) The Devil You Know: Openness, Risk Aversion, and the Incumbency Advantage. 2021. Frontiers in Political Science [special issue on personality and politics] (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler)
Going Postal: State Capacity and Violent Dispute Resolution (with Jeffrey Jensen). 2020. Journal of Comparative Economics 48(4):779-796.
Early investments in state capacity promote persistently higher levels of social capital. 2020. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 117(20): 10755-10761 (with Jeffrey Jensen)
What I Like About You: Legislator Personality and Legislator Approval. 2019. Political Behavior 41(2):499-525 (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler)
Talking Heads: Measuring Elite Personality Using Speech. 2019. Political Science Research & Methods 7(1):163-184 (with Jonathan Klingler and Gary Hollibaugh)
Welcome to the Machine: A Model of Legislator Personality and Communications Technology Adoption (with Gary Hollibaugh and Jonathan Klingler; Sage Open)
Don't Know What You Got? A Bayesian Hierarchical Model of Neuroticism and Nonresponse. 2018. Political Science Research & Methods 6(3): 549-569 (with Jonathan Klingler and Gary Hollibaugh)
When Loyalty Tested: Do Party Leaders Use Committee Assignments as Rewards? 2018. Congress & The Presidency 45(1): 41-65 (with Nicole Asmussen)
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.
Under Pressure? Parties, Voters, and Legislators Ideology Reconsidered (with Jonathan Klingler and Gary Hollibaugh) - revise and resubmit
Filibusted: The Mixed Effects of "Going Nuclear" (Under Review)
Measuring Party Influence (Under Review)
Border-line Personality Dis-order? Maps, Nationalism, and Altruism (with Jonathan Klingler)
Will I Stay or Will I Go? Internal Migration and Partisan Polarization in the Contemporary Electorate
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)