I am a PhD candidate in Government and Social Policy at Harvard University. My primary research interests include American political behavior, campaigns and elections, and public opinion. I am also interested in the politics of social welfare policy, with special emphasis on education.
My dissertation examines the dynamics of vote choice in presidential campaigns. Who learns from campaigns? How do the bases of voter decision-making change over the course of campaigns? Many theories of campaigns characterize voter decision-making as a dynamic process, but most have mostly done so indirectly. In contrast, I examine changes in knowledge and vote intention using dynamic statistical models and data from an eleven-wave panel survey collected during the 2008 campaign. I find that less sophisticated voters learn the most from campaigns. Furthermore, over the course of the campaign changes in vote intention increasingly reflect ideological and policy considerations, contrary to the long-standing assumption that campaigns activate partisan attachments. These findings speak to the broader question about the civic value of campaigns, which diminish gaps of political advantage in elections.
In other research I consider how people acquire policy-specific information and how it shapes their issue attitudes, their perceptions of government, and their behavioral decisions. I carry out much of these inquiries in the field of education policy, using survey experiments and regression discontinuity methods to identify causal effects.