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This Month's Centennial Center Visiting Scholars

This month, the Centennial Center Visiting Scholar Program is pleased to support the following scholars as they pursue their research in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This program has hosted a diverse array of APSA members from every field of study, and from the United States and abroad. Check back each month to learn more about what our current Visiting Scholars are researching and teaching during their stay with the Centennial Center.

The Centennial Center, its facilities, and research support programs have been made possible since 2003 by the generous donations of APSA friends and members. 

Interested in becoming a Visiting Scholar? Learn more about the Visiting Scholar Program here.

Emily Baer, APSA Congressional Fellow
"‘Laboratories of Democracy’ for Procedural Innovations in the U.S. Congress?"

This project addresses the role of state legislatures as ‘laboratories of democracy’ for rule and procedural reform proposals in the House of Representatives. Despite the vast literature on institutional change and reform in the U.S. Congress, the potential linkage between reforms in the states and Congress remain largely unexplored by both congressional and state politics scholars. Early research suggested that changes to congressional rules, procedures, and organization spurred state legislatures to adopt reforms (Caldwell 1947), but the expansion of research on legislative reforms adopted in the 1960s and 1970s by the states (Smith and Lyons 1977; Thompson 1986; Bowman and Kearney 1986) and Congress (Rohde 1991; Schickler 2001; Schickler, McGhee and Sides 2003; Wright 2000; Zelizer 2006) largely overlooked any potential linkages across the federal system. What role do the states play in promoting the adoption of new rules, procedures, and methods of organization in the U.S. Congress? And what role does the U.S. Congress play in promoting state legislative reform?

Christopher Baylor, APSA Congressional Fellow
"Ahead of the Class: Cultural Liberals and Coalition Building in the Democratic Party"

Ahead of the Class explains how the Democratic Party changed on issues related to gender and lifestyle. This project proposes to examine how ideological groups and member-interest groups interact with each other on these issues. Further, this project it has the potential to reveal when such organizations are willing to sacrifice material incentives for ideological benefits, and to what extent they can socialize their members into a broader mission.

Carolina Ferrerosa Young, Columbia University
"New Measurement Strategies for U.S. Congressional Responsiveness to Interest Group Advocacy"

My dissertation is the inaugural attempt of a research agenda aimed at mapping governmental response to interest group advocacy through the lens of representational inequality. At the first stage of the project, I will be focusing on national-level response. This dissertation will focus on the U.S. Congress, with the intention of studying other levels of government in future projects. For this project, I will partner with a non-governmental organization and conduct a fi eld experiment on the effects of lobbying efforts on behalf of constituent preferences from different levels of resources and expertise. This research will shed light on how and under what conditions lobbying efforts for differing constituencies can affect representation in government. I begin with a broad question: Under what conditions are public advocacy groups' voices heard and represented in American government? I follow with a narrow question: If we randomly assign U.S. politicians to receive lobbying contacts on behalf of a constituent versus an expert, who gets heard and responded to?

Sharan Grewal, Princeton University
"Coup-Proofing and Democratization"

Perhaps the most frequented topic in comparative politics has been the study of democratization. Despite this widespread interest, the critical role of the military has been largely neglected. A recent account laments that nearly 25 years after Stepan's (1988) observation that the military has probably been the least studied of the factors involved in new democratic movements," the situation has not changed drastically." The absence of the military is a significant omission in theories of democratization, as empirically the leading cause of collapse of a democratic transition is a military coup (Svolik 2015). Understanding what drives militaries to thwart democratic transitions could provide an important piece of the puzzle of why some transitions succeed and others fail. This dissertation argues that a military's decision to thwart or accept a democratic transition is shaped by its former autocrat's coup-proofing strategies. It first develops a new typology of coup-proofing strategies, noting that autocrats can manipulate the military's corporate interests (through counterbalancing or cooptation) and its composition (through stacking or favoritism). The dissertation then examines the downstream consequences of these coup-proofing strategies on the prospects for democratization. It finds that counterbalancing and favoritism are particularly conducive to democratization, while cooptation and stacking are more problematic.

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