PUBLISHED OR FORTHCOMING RESEARCH
My dissertation is a book project that traces the influence of campaign donors on the political ideology of legislators. Previous studies have observed increasing polarization of American legislatures, yet investigations into the underlying causes have thus far come up short. Lacking from current explanations is a thorough investigation of how money influences the ideology of legislators. In my dissertation, I develop a theory of how legislators respond to the preferences of those who fund their campaigns. I then test this theory using a variety of data. Using an original dataset of state-level campaign contribution limits I show that lowering contribution limits on individuals leads to less polarized legislators, while limits on PACs lead to more extreme legislators. This relationship exists because contribution records suggest that individual donors are more ideologically motivated than political action committees. At the federal level, I show that while legislators are more ideological than co-partisans in their districts, they are quite similar ideologically to the donor class. I show this using an original survey of campaign donors in the 2012 election. Overall, this dissertation suggests that the influence of money is an important factor in the story of polarization in American politics.
"Online Polls and Registration Based Sampling: A New Method for Pre-Election Polling." with Quin Monson, Kelly Patterson and Chris Mann. Accepted for publication at Political Analysis.
"Estimating Neighborhood Effects on Turnout from Geocoded Individual Voter Registration Records" with Kosuke Imai (Under Review)
"Causes and Consequences of Political Polarization" with Nolan McCarty. Chapter in APSA Task Force Report, "Negotiating Agreement in Politics"
Works in Progress
"Preferences and Knowledge of Income Inequality" (with Alex Bolton and Kyle Dropp)
"A Theory of Political Action Committees (PACs), Individual Contributors, and Polarization" (with Brandice Canes-Wrone and Adam Meirowitz)
"Campaign Finance, Political Knowledge, and Polarization" (with Brandice Canes-Wrone)
"An Instrumental Variables Approach to Money and Election Results"