Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
The Ohio State University

2140 Derby Hall
154 North Oval Mall
Columbus OH, 43210
acs.1@osu.edu

Research Interests: American Politics; Political Institutions; Bureaucracy

CV

Research

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. “Presidential Directives in a Resistant Bureaucracy (forthcoming, Journal of Public Policy)
  2. “Ideal Point Estimation in Political Hierarchies: A Framework and an Application to the U.S. Executive Branch, Journal of Law, Economics & Organization, 2020
  3. “Congress and Administrative Policymaking: Identifying Congressional Veto Power,”, American Journal of Political Science , 2019
  4. “Policing the Administrative State,” Journal of Politics, 2018
  5. “Which Statute to Implement? Strategic Timing by Regulatory Agencies,” Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, 2016
  6. “Does White House Regulatory Review Produce a Chilling Effect and ‘OIRA Avoidance’ in the Agencies?” Presidential Studies Quarterly, 2013 (with Charles Cameron)

Manuscripts (available on request)

  1. “Influence-seeking in the Federal Bureaucracy: Do Groups Lobby or Monitor Policymakers?” (under review)
      Influence-seeking by outside groups is widespread in the federal bureaucracy, as evidenced by public expenditure data. But less is known about the strategies that underlie these expenditures. The literature on influence-seeking points to two possibilities. Groups can lobby policymakers to persuade them to take a specific action, or groups can monitor policymakers, as in “fire alarm” oversight, and report any unwanted action to Congress and other interested overseers. I exploit the fact that these two strategies have different implications for which policymakers will be targeted. Groups have an incentive to lobby their allies and (persuadable) would-be allies, and an incentive to monitor their adversaries. Using data on influence-seeking expenditures, I find that conservative groups disproportionately target their adversaries, which is consistent with monitoring, and that liberal groups disproportionately target their allies, which is con- sistent with lobbying. I discuss the implications for our understanding of democratic accountability in bureaucratic policymaking.
  2. “Influence through Intimidation: Evidence from Business Lobbying and the Regulatory Process”, with Cary
    Coglianese (under review)

      Interest group influence in the policy process is often assumed to occur through a mechanism of exchange, persuasion, or subsidy. Here, we explore how business groups may also exert influence by intimidating policymakers–—a form of persuasion, but one based not on the provision of policy information but of political information. We develop a theory where a business firm lobbies a regulator to communicate political information about its capacity to commit to future influence-seeking activities that would sanction the regulator. The regulator assesses the credibility of this message by evaluating the firm’s commitment to lobbying. Guided by our theory, we present evidence consistent with expectations that intimidation can shape regulatory outcomes to the advantage of certain firms, both through a chilling effect, where lobbying derails nascent regulatory plans, as well as a retreating effect, where opposition to published proposals leads to their withdrawal.

Works in Progress

  1. “All the President’s Directives: Theory and Evidence on the Timing, Visibility, and Implementation of
    Directives”

      It is well known that presidents rely on different types of directives to achieve their policy goals, such as executive orders, proclamations and memorandums. Less attention has been paid to more substantive sources of variation, including the visibility of a directive (e.g., whether it published in the Federal Register), and the timing of a directive (e.g., whether the directive itself predates efforts to implement the relevant policy). I study the incentives presidents have to issue directives that vary along these two dimensions in the context of a model where directives can prompt—but not necessarily coerce—subordinates to take action. I explore the implications of the model using a new dataset of regulatory actions that were directed by the president. Consistent with the model, I find that the most significant regulatory actions come from directives that are: (i) less visible to the public, such as unpublished memorandums and relatively informal presidential “initiatives” and “plans” ; or (ii) issued after efforts to implement the relevant policy were already underway. I conclude by discussing the implications for our understanding of presidential power and whether directives themselves can provide evidence of that power.

 

Teaching

  1. Bureaucracy and Public Policy (PS 4115, undergrad)
  2. Political Games: Rational Choice Theory and the Study of Politics (PS 3500, undergrad)
  3. Introduction to American Politics (PS 1100, undergrad)
  4. Introduction to the Policy Process (PS 3115, undergrad)
  5. Political Institutions (PS 7905, PhD)