Conrad Paper Accepted for Publication at International Studies Quarterly
March 14,2013 —Courtenay Conrad's paper, "Tyrants and Terrorism: Why some Autocrats are Terrorized while Others are Not" (coauthored with Justin Conrad, University of North Carolina-Charlotte and Joseph K. Young, American University) has been accepted for publication in International Studies Quarterly.
Fortunato Paper to be Published in Political Research Quarterly
March 9, 2013 —David Fortunato's paper, "Government Agenda-Setting and Bicameral Conflict Resolution" (coauthored with Thomas König and Sven-Oliver Proksch, Universität Mannheim), has been accepted for publication in Political Research Quarterly.
Fortunato Paper to be Published in Electoral Studies
February 26, 2013 —David Fortunato's paper, "Performance Voting and Knowledge of Cabinet Composition" (coauthored with Randy Stevenson, Rice University), has been accepted for publication in Electoral Studies.
Fortunato Paper to be Published in the Journal of Politics
February 20, 2013 —David Fortunato's paper, "Majority Status and Variation in Informational Organization" has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics.
Nicholson Paper to be Published in Public Opinion Quarterly
February 15, 2013 —Stephen Nicholson's paper, "Extreme Voices: Interest Groups and the Misrepresentation of Issue Publics" (coauthored with Ryan Claassen, Kent State University), has been accepted for publication in Public Opinion Quarterly.
Hansford Paper to be Published in the Journal of Politics
Emily Hencken Ritter to Join UC Merced Political Science!
January 3, 2013 —We are excited to announce that Emily Hencken Ritter will join the Political Science program beginning July 2013. Ritter received her Ph.D. from Emory University in 2010 and is currently on faculty at the University of Alabama. Her research examines questions regarding when and how states will cooperate with international institutions, how international institutions impact outcomes through domestic institutions, and the onset and process of domestic conflict. Speciﬁc questions she has explored on these topics include how international and domestic legal institutions such as human rights treaties, international criminal courts and tribunals, and domestic courts can constrain the state from repressing citizens while potential dissidents threaten leaders’ control of power. Ritter's work has been published in the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, and the Journal of Theoretical Politics.
Courtenay Conrad to Rejoin UC Merced Political Science!
December 5, 2012 —We are excited to announce that Courtenay Conrad will rejoin the Political Science program beginning July 2013. Conrad received her Ph.D. from Florida State University in 2010 and was previously at UC Merced before leaving to join the faculty at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She has broad interests in international organizations, comparative political institutions, and human rights and is currently working as co-PI on an NSF-funded initiative to generate cross-national event data on state torture. Conrad's work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Perspectives, and the European Journal of Political Research.
Trounstine Paper on Voter Turnout and Incumbency Accepted for Publication
September 10, 2012 —Jessica Trounstine's paper, "Turnout and Incumbency in Local Elections" has been accepted for publication in Urban Affairs Review.
Huang Awarded Hellman Fellows Research Grant
June 4, 2012 —Haifeng Huang has been awarded a grant of $20,000 from the Hellman Fellows Fund for his project titled "Information Order in a Changing Society". The Hellman Fellows Fund was established to support the research activities of junior faculty.
Kevin Smith to Give Talk on Political Physiology at UC Merced
May 15, 2012 —Kevin B. Smith will give a talk entitled, "I Spit On Your Politics: Biology, Endocrinology, and Political Participation" as part of the Understanding Politics talk series at UC Merced. Smith is Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Smith is co-director of the UNL Political Physiology Laboratory and the associate director of the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior. He is a pioneering scholar in the study of the biological basis of political attitudes and behavior.
Andy Healy to Give Talk on Economic Voting at UC Merced
May 7, 2012 —Andy Healy (Associate Professor of Economics, Loyola Marymount University) will give a talk entitled "Substituting the End for the Whole: Why Voters Respond Primarily to the Election-Year Economy" as part of the Understanding Politics talk series at UC Merced.
Political Science Wins Multiple Awards for Excellence in Research and Teaching
April 13, 2012 —Three Political Science professors, Thomas Hansford, Jessica Trounstine, and Jon Carlson, have been recognized by the UC Merced Faculty Senate for distinguished research and teaching contributions. Hansford was awarded the Academic Senate Distinguished Senate Award, an award given in recognition of research that has had a major impact on the field, either through a sustained record of contributions or through a specific, highly influential contribution. Trounstine was awarded the Distinguished Early Career Research Award, an award that is also given in recognition of research that has had a major impact on the field, either through a sustained record of contributions or through a specific, highly influential contribution. Carlson, Lecturer in Political Science, was awarded the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching for a Non-Senate Lecturer Award, given in recognition for outstanding work of non-Senate lecturers in teaching undergraduates at UC Merced.
Hibbing Paper on Genetic and Environmental Influences on Political Traits Accepted for Publication
March 29, 2012 —Matthew Hibbing's paper, "Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Orientations" has been accepted for publication in Political Psychology. The paper was coauthored with Carolyn L. Funk, Kevin B. Smith, John R. Alford, Nicholas R. Eaton, Robert F. Kruger, Lindon J. Eaves, and John R. Hibbing.
Jessica Trounstine Provides Analysis on UCTV about Incumbent Responsiveness
March 19, 2012 —"Are you listening, Incumbents?" UC Merced political scientist Jessica Trounstine describes factors that affect how incumbents respond to voters. She argues that the presence of a local newspaper, along with information on ballots, registration, and polling places, increase the responsiveness of incumbents to their constituents. See the video here.
David Fortunato to Join Political Science Faculty
March 19, 2012 —We’re excited to announce that David Fortunato will be joining our faculty. David works in the field of comparative politics and focuses on voting behavior, political parties, and elections in parliamentary democracies. He is currently finishing his PhD at Rice University and will join us this fall.
Nicholson's Research on the Tea Party Accepted for Publication
March 13, 2012 —Stephen Nicholson's paper (coauthored with Kevin Arceneaux, Temple University), "Reading Tea Party Leaves: Who Supports the Tea Party Movement, What do They Want, and Why?" has been accepted for publication in PS: Political Science and Politics.
Huang's Research on Local Government Reform in China Accepted for Publication
February 27, 2012 —Haifeng Huang's paper, "Signal Left, Turn Right: Central Rhetoric and Local Reform in China" has been accepted for publication in Political Research Quarterly.
Monroe paper on Agenda Control in the House Accepted for Publication
February 24, 2012 —Nate Monroe's paper (coauthored with Jeffery A. Jenkins, University of Viriginia), "Partisan Agenda Control in the House" has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Theoretical Politics.
Alex Theodoridis to Join Political Science Faculty
February 22, 2012 —We are excited to announce that Alex Theodoridis will be joining the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts as a new political science faculty member beginning July 2012. Theodoridis is currently finishing his Ph.D. at the UC Berkeley. Theodoridis studies American politics with a focus on political behavior, political psychology, electoral institutions, political communication and participation. Theodoridis' work has been published in Political Psychology.
James Fowler to give talk at UC Merced
February 21, 2012 —James Fowler, Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science at UCSD, will give a talk on February 27 titled, "A Massive-Scale Experiment in Social Influence and Political Mobilization." Fowler's work lies at the intersection of the natural and social sciences. His primary interests include social networks, behavioral economics, evolutionary game theory, political participation, cooperation, and genopolitics (the study of the genetic basis of political behavior). He was recently named a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and one of Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers. Fowler has been interviewed by Stephen Colbert and was named "most original thinker" of the year by The McLaughlin Group.
Monroe paper on Negative Agenda Control Accepted for Publication
December 22, 2011 —Nate Monroe's paper (coauthored with Jeffery A. Jenkins, University of Viriginia), "Buying Negative Agenda Control in the U.S. House" has been accepted for publication in the American Journal of Political Science.
Nicholson Awarded NSF Grant to Study Direct Democracy in the 2012 Elections
September 15, 2011 —Stephen Nicholson (with Shaun Bowler, UC Riverside) has been awarded a $398,516 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the causes of opinion on ballot measures and their effect on candidate evaluation and participation. The study, titled "The causes and consequences of opinion formation in direct democracy elections," will be a companion study to the American National Election Study, the preeminent survey of American's political attitudes and voting behavior.
Hibbing's Research on Disgust and Left-Right Political Orienations Accepted for Publication
September 15, 2011 —Matt Hibbing's paper, "Disgust Sensitivity and the Neurophysiology of Left-Right Political Orientations" (coauthored with Kevin B. Smith, Douglas R. Oxley, John R. Alford, and John R. Hibbing) has been accepted for publication in PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science).
Hibbing Paper on Media Exposure Accepted for Publication
September 15, 2011 —Matt Hibbing's paper (coauthored with David Tewksbury and Scott L. Althaus), "Estimating Self-Reported News Exposure Across and Within Typical Days: Should Surveys Use More Refined Measures,'" has been accepted for publication in Communication Methods and Measures.
Political Science Moves Into New Building and Will Soon Open PS Lab
August 18, 2011 —The Political Science Program has just moved into the new Social Sciences and Management building. With the move, we are excited to announce PS Lab, two new experimental labs that will be outfitted with state of the art equipment including the ability to collect physiological readings. Managed by Matt Hibbing and Stephen Nicholson, PS Lab will be used for experimental research in political science and will also serve as an intellectual hub for our developing graduate program.
Nicholson's Research on Source Cues and Polarization Accepted for Publication
June 6, 2011 —Stephen Nicholson's paper, "Polarizing Cues," has been accepted for publication in the American Journal of Political Science.
Emily Hencken Ritter to Give Talk on the Enforcement of International Criminal Regimes
May 2, 2011 —On June 9, Emily Hencken Ritter will give a talk entitled, "Bargaining, Collective Action, and the Enforcement of International Criminal Regimes" as part of the Understanding Politics Speaker Series. Emily Hencken Ritter is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama. Dr. Ritter's research focuses on the effects of international and domestic institutions on state repression and human rights practices.
Conrad Paper on Torture Accepted for Publication
March 14, 2011 —Courtenay Conrad's paper, "Divergent Incentives for Dictators: Domestic Institutions and (International Promises not to) Torture" has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Conflict Resolution.
Nicholson Paper on Party Images Accepted for Publication
March 14, 2011 —Stephen Nicholson's paper (co-authored with Gary Segura), "Who's the Party of the People? Economic Populism and the US Public's Beliefs about Political Parties," has been accepted for publication in the journal Political Behavior.
Walt Stone to Give Talk on Representation and Congressional Elections
March 2, 2011 —On March 8, Walt Stone will be giving a talk titled, “Who Gets Represented in Congressional Elections.” The research Professor Stone will present focuses on the policy and "valence" components of representation. The policy component may be described by a one-dimensional ideological space in which we locate constituents and candidates. The "proximity rule" conceives of representation as directly related to the distance between constituents and candidates in the left-right space: the closer the constituent is to the candidate, the better the representation. "Valence" is often thought of as any non-policy advantage one candidate has over a competitor. In his talk, Professor Stone will argue that voters have an intrinsic interest in candidates' leadership qualities, and posit a "candidate-quality rule" such that voters are better represented by candidates of higher leadership qualities. Walt Stone is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at UC Davis. Dr. Stone studies American politics with a focus on parties and elections, electoral behavior, legislative behavior, representation, and survey research.
Tomz to Give Talk on the Democratic Peace
February 24, 2011 — In this talk, Professor Tomz uses experiments to overcome methodological obstacles to understanding the democratic peace. His experiments, administered to nationally representative samples of adults in the U.S. and U.K., reveal that voters are substantially less supportive of military strikes against democracies than against otherwise identical autocracies. The effect exists across a wide range of situations and demographic groups, and is most pronounced among the politically active segments of the electorate. Moreover, Tomz investigates three broad categories of causal mechanisms—threat perception, deterrence, and morality—and find stronger support for the threat perception and morality mechanisms than for the deterrence mechanism. These findings help advance a debate of central importance to scholars and policymakers. Michael Tomz is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Center for International Development and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and is affiliated with the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law and the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences. Dr. Tomz's research interests range across the fields of international relations, political economy, public opinion, and methodology.
Nicholson Paper on Cue Taking and Public Opinion Accepted for Publication
February 18, 2011 —Stephen Nicholson's paper, "Dominating Cues and the Limits of Elite Influence," has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics.
Matthew Hibbing to join Political Science Faculty
February 18, 2011 —We are excited to announce that Matthew Hibbing will be joining the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts as a new political science faculty member beginning July 2011. Hibbing is currently finishing his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. He studies American politics with a focus on political behavior, political psychology, and the influence of biology on politics. Hibbing's work has been published in Science, the American Political Science Review, the British Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Psychology, and Political Behavior.
Trounstine's Study of the Provision of Public Goods Accepted for Publication
November 2, 2010 —The Provision of Local Public Goods in Diverse Communities: Analyzing Municipal Bond Elections” (coauthored with Jacob Rugh, PhD candidate at Princeton) has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Politics. In this paper, Trounstine and Rugh examine how diverse cities are able to overcome potential collective action problems when providing public goods. Using a new data set on more than 3,000 municipal bond elections, they show that strategic politicians encourage cooperation. Diversity leads officials to be more selective about requesting approval for investment and more attentive to coalition building. Trounstine and Rugh also find that diverse communities see fewer bond elections, but that the bonds proposed are larger and pass at higher rates. Diverse cities tend to offer voters bonds with more spending categories and are more likely to hold referenda during general elections. As a result, diverse cities do just as well as homogenous cities in issuing voter authorized debt. Thus, political elites perform an important mediating function in the generation of public goods.
UC Merced Research Appears on NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" program
November 2, 2010 —Tom Hansford's paper on bad weather and voter turnout (coauthored with Brad Gomez and George Krause) was referenced on this Saturday's edition of "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" show on National Public Radio. The same paper is currently featured in a story on the Weather Channel's website.
Hansford Paper on Organized Interests at the Court Accepted for Publication
October 29, 2010 —“The Dynamics of Interest Representation at the U.S. Supreme Court,” an article by Tom Hansford, has been accepted for publication in Political Research Quarterly. In this article, Hansford analyzes data on decades-worth of amicus curiae filings at the U.S.Supreme Court to test whether organized interests respond, in a dynamic sense, to the efforts of interests on the “other side.” The results reveal that organized interests respond positively to the advocacy activities of their opponents by exhibiting both short-term counteraction and long-term countermobilization, implying that over the long run interest representation at the Court is responsive and perhaps balanced.
Trounstine Paper on Local Incumbency Advantage Accepted for Publication
October 20, 2010 —Jessica Trounstine's paper "Evidence of a Local Incumbency Advantage" has been accepted for publication in Legislative Studies Quarterly. In the paper, she investigates whether or not city council members benefit from an incumbency advantage similar to congressional candidates. Using data from more than 80 years across 4 cities, Trounstine finds strong causal evidence for a local incumbency advantage. The paper uses a regression discontinuity design to show that city councilors are more likely to run and win their next elections because they served a term in office.
UC Merced Political Science has Highest Rate of Research Productivity of Any UC Political Science Program
October 19, 2010 —Based on average faculty rates of publication in the top political science journals and university presses, UC Merced's political science faculty has the highest rate of research productivity in the entire UC system. See the report.
Monroe's book on the U.S. Senate Accepted for Publication
October 15, 2010 —Nate Monroe’s book, Agenda Setting in the U.S. Senate: Costly Consideration and Majority Party Advantage (coauthored with Chris Den Hartog, Cal Poly), was recently accepted for publication by Cambridge University Press. The conventional view of the Senate amongst legislative scholars paints a picture of an institution where individual Senators and minority factions dominate the will of the majority party. In their book, Monroe and Den Hartog offer a revisionist perspective, arguing that the majority party uses a variety procedural tools to achieve a systematic policy advantage in the Senate. They are contend that these procedural advantages allow the majority leadership to more easily pay the legislative "costs" associated with moving their agenda items through the Senate's treacherous process.
Conrad Research on Dictatorial Concessions Accepted for Publication
June 10, 2010 —Courtenay Conrad's paper, "Constrained Concessions: Beneﬁcent Dictatorial Responses to the Domestic Opposition," has been accepted for publication at International Studies Quarterly. In the paper, she argues that institutionalization-specifically the manner in which the political opposition is incorporated into the regime-is key to understanding whether dictators will respond to opposition demands with concessions. Dictators "buy off" some types of domestic opposition with material concessions and liberalize when they face other types of opposition. Because dictators often make decisions facing environmental constraints, however, Conrad also argues that ﬁnancial conditions can limit a dictator’s ability to respond beneficently to the opposition.
Heit and Nicholson Research on Political Categorization and Polarization Accepted for Publication
May 18, 2010 —Heit and Nicholson’s paper, “The Opposite of Republican: Polarization and Political Categorization” has been accepted for publication in Cognitive Science. In this research, Heit and Nicholson ask the question, what is the relation between a category and its opposite? This question is particularly relevant to the study of politics. In the United States’ two-party system, the categories Democrat and Republican appear to be in direct contrast, especially given the increased polarization of parties in Congress and in the mass public in recent years. In this heightened era of polarization, Heit and Nicholson examined whether typicality ratings for the categories Democrat and Republican were strongly predictive of each other. In one of the experiments, two separate groups of participants rated the typicality of 15 individuals, including political figures and media personalities, with respect to the categories Democrat or Republican. The relation between the two sets of ratings was negative, linear, and extremely strong, r = -0.9957. Essentially, one category was treated as a mirror image of the other. These findings suggest that the American political system is highly coherent and organized. Far from Tweedledee and Tweedledum, public figures in the United States offer a distinct partisan choice.
Scott Desposato Gives Talk on Negative Campaigning in Comparative Perspective
April 28, 2010 —Why do some countries have more negative campaigning than others? And does it matter? UC Merced's latest guest speaker addressed both of these questions in this talk. Professor Desposato's current research project studies differences in campaign strategy across Latin America, and how those differences affect voters' learning, vote choices, and trust in their political systems. He has collected and analyzed tens of thousands of political ads from most Latin American countries, and shows that the two most important determinants of negativity are the competitiveness of the race and the electoral system. In particular, complex systems with high district magnitude have the lowest negativity, while simple low magnitude districts have the highest negativity. Interestingly, one implication is that the electoral systems used in the US are typically those that lead to the highest levels of negativity in the world. He has also conducted experiments in Brazil, showing that low education voters are much more responsive to campaign ads than high education voters. In particular,low education voters are much less likely to vote if they see a negative advertisement. Professor Desposato is an associate professor of political science at the University of California San Diego.
Nicholson Appointed to the Board of the American National Election Studies
April 19, 2010 — Stephen Nicholson has been appointed to the Board of Overseers for the American National Election Studies. Since 1948, the ANES has informed the study of elections and voting behavior by providing researchers with a view of the political world through the eyes of ordinary citizens. The surveys include in-depth, face-to-face interviews of citizens taken before and after a national election. Scholars using these data have produced numerous books and articles testing hypotheses about voter behavior revealing many important insights about public attitudes, vote preference, and political participations. The ANES Board guides the planning of future election studies and the conduct of grant activities.
Courtenay Conrad to join Political Science Faculty
March 29, 2010 —We are excited to announce that Courtenay R. Conrad will be joining the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts as a new political science faculty member beginning July 2010. Conrad is currently finishing her Ph.D. at Florida State University and plans to defend her dissertation in early June. She has broad interests in international organizations, comparative political institutions, and human rights and is currently working as co-PI on an NSF-funded initiative to generate cross-national event data on state torture. Conrad's work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science and the European Journal of Political Research.
Hansford's Research on Judicial Retirements Accepted for Publication
March 12, 2010 — Tom Hansford's paper, "Politics, Careerism, and the Voluntary Departures of U.S. District Court Judges" (coauthored with Elisha Savchak, North Carolina State University, and Don Songer, University of South Carolina) has just been accepted for publication. This study reveals that during the earlier part of a district court judge's career it is the likelihood of elevation to an appeals court and other career-oriented concerns that affect whether the judge resigns or stays on the bench. It is only during the latter stage of a judge's career when the desire to be replaced with a like-minded judge affects the retirement decision. Adam Kook and Ben Goodhue (both of whom are recent UC Merced political science graduates) assisted with this research.
Paper Coauthored by Hansford on Voter Turnout Accepted for Publication
March 1, 2010 — "Estimating the Electoral Effects of Voter Turnout" (coauthored with Brad Gomez, Florida State University) has been accepted for publication in the American Political Science Review, the leading journal in the field of political science. In this paper, Hansford and Gomez use election day rainfall as an instrumental variable for voter turnout and are thus able to estimate the effect of variation in turnout due to across-the-board changes in the utility of voting. Using county-level data from the 1948-2000 presidential elections, they find that variation in turnout significantly affects vote shares at the county, national and Electoral College levels.
Chris Achen to Give Talk on Voter Rationalization
January 21, 2010 —At noon the political science program will be hosting Christopher Achen of Princeton University. His talk, "It Feels Like We're Thinking: The Rationalizing voter and Electoral Democracy", is drawn from new work with Larry Bartels. Here is the abstract for the talk: The familiar image of rational electoral choice has voters weighing the competing candidate's strengths and weaknesses, calculating comparative distances in issue space,and assessing the president's management of foreign affairs and the national economy. Indeed, once or twice in a lifetime, a national or personal crisis does induce political though. But most of the time, the voters adopt issue positions, adjust their candidate perceptions, and invent facts to rationalize decisions they have already made. The implications of this distinction - between genuine thinking and its day-to-day counterfeit - strike at the roots of both positive and normative theories of electoral democracy.
New Research by Nate Monroe Shows Effects of Partisanship in Lawmaking
October 19, 2009 — In two forthcoming articles, Professor Nathan Monroe's research shows the policy impact of changes in partisan control of Congress and the Presidency. The first, "Unpacking Agenda Control in Congress: Individual Roll Rates and the Republican Revolution" (forthcoming in Political Research Quarterly, with Jamie Carson and Greg Robinson), uses the Republican takeover of the House in the 1994 elections to test the effect of majority status on intra-party success. Notably, the research shows the even moderate majority party members suffer some losses at the hands of their own leadership's agenda setting tactics. The second, "The Policy Impact of Unified Government: Evidence from 2000-2002" (forthcoming in Public Choice), looks at the stock market reaction to three changes in party control — Bush v. Gore, the Jeffords switch, and the 2002 Senate elections — and shows that investors favored oil and gas stocks when Republicans gained control, and renewable energy sources when Democrats took control. These results are especially notable in showing that even the Senate — often thought to be a santcuary of bipartisan compromise — changes policy direction with changes in the party that holds the majority.
Trounstine Wins Best Book Award
September 8, 2009 — Jessica Trounstine won the award for Best Book in Urban Politics published in 2008 by the Urban Politics Section of The American Political Science Association. The committee was made up of Martin Horak (University of Western Ontario), Megan Mullin (Temple University) and Traci Burch (Northwestern University). Horak, the chair of the committee, said that Trounstine's book was bound to make a very important contribution to the study of urban politics. Trounstine's book was the unanimous choice of the committee among the approximately 20 submissions for the award.
Hansford Paper on Presidential Nomination Campaigns Accepted for Publication
September 1, 2009 — Thomas Hansford's manuscript, "Explaining the Decision to Withdraw from a U.S. Presidential Nomination Campaign," coauthored with David Damore (UNLV) and AJ Barghothi (University of Wyoming) has been accepted for publication in Political Behavior. In this research, Hansford and colleagues contend that a candidate's decision to exit from a U.S. presidential nomination campaign is a function of three sets of considerations: the potential for profile elevation, party-related costs, and updated perceptions of competitiveness. They analyze data from eleven post-reform presidential nomination campaigns and find support for all three considerations. Specifically, their results suggest that in addition to candidates' competitiveness, the decision to withdraw is a function of candidates' closeness to their party and ability to raise their profile. At the same time, some of their results contradict the conventional wisdom regarding presidential nomination campaigns, as we find no evidence that media coverage or cash on hand directly affect the duration of a nomination candidacy.
Jim Spriggs to Give Talk at UC Merced
July 8, 2009 — Jim Spriggs, Washington University Professor of Political Science, will give a talk titled, "The Depreciation of Precedent at the U.S. Supreme Court." In his research, Spriggs examines an enduring piece of legal wisdom that contends that the value of court opinions depreciates as they age. To address this assertion, Spriggs and his co-author (Ryan C. Black) systematically examine the rate at which U.S. Supreme Court precedents depreciate between the 1946 and 2004 terms. Their results indicate that a precedent's age has the most pronounced influence of any variable on depreciation. The talk is scheduled for July 10, 2009 at 10:30 AM in the Willow Room, Classroom and Office Building.
Haifeng Huang to Join Political Science!
June 10, 2009 — We are excited to announce that Haifeng Huang, an expert on political economics, will be joining the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts as a new political science faculty member beginning July, 2010. Huang is currently finishing his Ph.D. at Duke University. Huang has broad interests in political economics, news media, theory of institutions and Chinese politics. His dissertation, entitled "Essays on the News Media and Political Control in Authoritarian States", uses formal modeling, statistical testing, and case studies to analyze how authoritarian governments use the news media to maintain regime stability, control local officials and manage reform. He is also interested in democratic politics and has worked on lying and pandering in electoral competitions. He will spend the 2009-2010 academic year in the Department of Politics at Princeton University as a postdoctoral research associate in formal and quantitative analysis.
Nelson Polsby Book Collection Acquired by UC Merced Library
February 25, 2009 — The UC Merced library is in the process of cataloging and putting on its shelves approximately 7,000 political science books from the late Nelson Polsby, a UC Berkeley political scientist widely renowned as one of the world's leading experts on American politics and the U.S. Congress. The books were generously donated to UC Merced by the Polsby family.
Political Science Graduates its First Majors
December 16, 2008 — We are proud to announce that UC Merced is graduating its first three political science majors: Kristen Johnson, Adam Kook and Temnee Wright. All three are graduating in a few days and all three are planning on heading to law school. Congratulations!
Research by Hansford on Weather and Voter Turnout Receives Substantial Media Coverage
November 5, 2008 — National Public Radio, The Today Show, Discover Magazine, USA Today, and many other media outlets have recently featured research by Tom Hansford and colleagues about the effects of weather on voter turnout. Based on research that appeared in the Journal of Politics,Hansford and colleagues conclude that bad weather significantly decreases the level of voter turnout and that poor weather conditions are positively related to Republican Party vote share in presidential elections. The study was co-authored by Brad Gomez of Florida State University and George Krause of the University of Pittsburgh.
New Book by Jessica Trounstine
September 17, 2008 — Jessica Trounstine's new book, Political Monopolies in American Cities: The Rise and Fall of Bosses and Reformers, has now been published by the University of Chicago Press. Using in-depth case studies of Chicago, Illinois and San Jose, California, and additional data from more than 240 cities, Trounstine argues that political machines and municipal reformers have much more in common than we previously realized. She finds that both types of governing coalitions bias the system in favor of incumbents, effectively establishing political monopolies that rule for decades without truly representing their communities.
Stephen Nicholson Selected to be Co-Chair of the 2010 Midwest Political Science Association Conference
September 3, 2008 — Stephen Nicholson has been selected to serve as Co-Chair of the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA). MPSA holds one of the largest political science conferences in the United States. At the 2008 meeting, more than 4,000 scholars presented papers. Along with Co-Chair Maria Escobar-Lemmon (Texas A&M), Nicholson will be responsible for selecting the 64 section heads whose job it is to select papers and assign them to session formats (panels, posters, roundtables, or informal roundtables). The conference will be held at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
George Lakoff to Give Talk at UC Merced this Fall
July 18, 2008 — George Lakoff, UC Berkeley Professor and distinguished cognitive linguist, will give a talk this Fall on his new book, The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain. In this book, Lakoff uses insights from cognitive science to understand how conservatives have framed the debate on vital issues more effectively than liberals. According to his research, most brain functioning is grounded not in logical reasoning but in emotionalism, and politicians who understand this will benefit when attempting to persuade voters. Lakoff's talk is scheduled for September 23, 6 PM, in Lakireddy Auditorium. The talk is sponsored by a gift to Cognitive Science from the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation, and is organized by the Cognitive science and Political science programs.
Jessica Trounstine to Join Political Science!
May 8, 2008 — We are excited to announce that Jessica Trounstine, an expert on city politics and elections, will be joining the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts as a new political science faculty member beginning August 1, 2009. Trounstine received her Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego and currently is a member of the faculty at Princeton University. Her research focuses on American politics, especially city politics, elections, and political parties. Her work appears in the American Journal of Political Science and Journal of Politics. She is author of Political Monopolies in American Cities (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press).
Political Science Major Kristen Johnson Presents Paper at Professional Conference
April 9, 2008 — Kristen Johnson, a UC Merced political science major, presented a research paper on March 21, 2008 at the Western Political Science Association in San Diego. The paper, "Explaining Levels of Organized Interest Activity at the U.S. Supreme Court," was co-authored with UC Merced political science faculty member Tom Hansford. The collaboration began as part of Johnson's research she did for Hansford in an independent study and represents but one of the myriad research opportunities available to political science majors at UC Merced.
Fraga and Segura to Present Findings from the Latino National Survey at UC Merced
February 15, 2008 — On March 17, 2008, Luis Fraga and Gary Segura will present research findings from the Latino National Study (LNS) to the UC Merced community. The LNS is a major national telephone survey of 8600 Latino residents of the United States, seeking a broad understanding of the nature of Latino political and social life in America. The even takes place at 3:00 in the California Room.
Nate Monroe to Join Political Science!
December 11, 2007 — We are excited to announce that Nate Monroe, an expert on congressional politics, will be joining the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts as a new political science faculty member beginning July 1, 2008. Monroe currently teaches at the University of the Pacific (UOP). Before coming to UOP, he completed his PhD (2004) at the University of California, San Diego, and subsequently spent three years on faculty at Michigan State University. His research focuses on American national institutions, especially the U.S. Congress. His work is forthcoming or appears in the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly. He is also Co-editor of Why Not Parties? Party Effects in the United States Senate (forthcoming, University of Chicago Press).
Political Science 3rd Largest Major in School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts
August 24, 2007 — Despite being new to UC Merced this year, the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts reports that political science has become the third largest major in the school. "This is a fantastic start for the political science major," said Steve Nicholson, a political science faculty member. "We are going to do everything we can in the coming years to grow the major." In addition to the major, political science also offers a minor.
Hansford and Nicholson Manuscript about Program-Building Experiences at UC Merced Accepted for Publication
August 3, 2007 — Tom Hansford and Stephen Nicholson's manuscript about their political science program building experiences at UC Merced has been accepted for publication by PS: Political Science and Politics. In the article, Hansford and Nicholson discuss such things as creating a new undergraduate major, the hiring process and interdisciplinary research opportunities.
Political Science Major coming this Fall!
December 11, 2006 — Beginning Fall 2007, UC Merced students will be able to major in political science. Political science majors will choose courses from three subfields of the discipline: American Politics, Comparative Politics and International Relations. The study of institutions and behavior is central to all three of these subfields, although the substantive emphasis differs. Courses in American Politics focus on domestic politics in the U.S., while courses in Comparative Politics examine government and politics in other nations. International Relations classes address issues in foreign policy, international conflict, and the institutions intended to govern the interactions between nations. Students will focus on one of these three subfields, although they will also be able to take courses in the two subfields outside of their focus. Due to both the broad intellectual roots of political science as a scholarly field and the interdisciplinary nature of UC Merced's School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, political science majors will also take at least two upper division classes in either Cognitive Science, Economics, History, Psychology or Public Policy.
Hansford and Colleagues Find That Bad Weather Affects Voter Turnout
October 22, 2006 — In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Politics, Tom Hansford and his colleagues (Brad Gomez and George Krause) find that rain significantly reduces voter participation by a rate just under one percent per inch. Snowfall decreases turnout at a rate of .35 percent per inch. Moreover, they show that the estimated number of voters lost due to precipitation significantly benefits the Republican Party's vote share. Perhaps most importantly, they show that weather may have been a determinative factor in the outcome of at least one Electoral College outcome.
Nicholson Awarded Emerging Scholar Award
July 21, 2006 — Stephen Nicholson will be awarded the Emerging Scholar Award at the upcoming conference of the American Political Science Association in Philadelphia. The award, presented by the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section of the American Political Science Association is awarded to the top scholar in the field within 10 years of doctorate.