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Current Research Projects
Social Influence on Politics: Development, Selection, and Strengthening (NSF supported dissertation project)
My research seeks to answer if and how an individual’s social environment, including the relationships and contexts that constitute it, affect the formation and persistence of individual political beliefs. My dissertation proposes a theory of how the social environment affects individual political beliefs that incorporates how the interaction between previously established political beliefs, the selection and structure of the social context, and the strengthening or conversion of political attitudes in social groups dynamically contributes to the process of social influence on politics. Read the award abstract here.
Is the ‘Dark Side’ of Disagreement Born by Women? (under review)
Recent scholarship suggests that exposure to disagreement in the social environment can foster participation in politics for some even if it dampens it for others. This paper explores the extent to which gender conditions the relationship between disagreement and participation across three presidential elections. It advances a theory of gendered difference in the construction of social networks and response to political disagreement in the social environment. Results demonstrate that men and women construct remarkably different social worlds and these differences affect how men and women respond to information from their networks. When disagreement is present, women are more likely to become ambivalent toward politics than men because they are more likely to want to seek cooperation and avoid conflict with individuals in their social networks. Results suggest that the trade-off between a participatory and tolerant citizenry is largely born by women.
Cutting in Line: The Role of Interest Group Networks in Executive Branch Nominations: with Janet Box-Steffensmeier and Dino Christenson (in preparation for submission)
What role do interest group coalitions play in presidential appointments to the executive branch? This paper uses an original dataset that combines almost 3,000 executive branch appointments from the 106th-111th Congressional Sessions, a record of formal and informal interest group involvement in those nominations, and power scores of interest group coalitions based on their activity before the Supreme Court. We hypothesize that all interest groups are not created equal. That is, if we are evaluating interest group influence in Congress, we cannot rely on the number of interest groups alone, we need to account for the power of interest groups in coalitions.
Athletic Democracy: Deliberation and Participation Reconciled: with Michael Neblo, David Lazer, William Minozzi, and Anand Sokhey (in preparation for submission)
Social Networks and Vote Choice: with Paul A. Beck (forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Political Networks, 2016)
All papers are available upon request.