Research

Publications

Forthcoming. “Taking Time (and Space) Seriously: How Scholars Falsely Infer Policy Diffusion from Model Misspecification.” (with Christopher Gandrud and Laron K. Williams), Policy Studies Journal

Abstract

Scholars have long been interested in how policies and ideas spread from one observation to another. Yet, the spatial and temporal dynamics of policy diffusion present unique challenges that empirical researchers often neglect. Scholars often use temporally-lagged spatial lags (TLSL)—such as the number (or percentage) of prior adopters in a neighborhood—to test various mechanisms of delayed policy diffusion but are largely unaware of two under-appreciated issues. First, the effects are not limited to one time period but persist over time by changing the future value of neighboring observations. Second, minor, yet common, choices in model specification—such as omitting spatially-correlated and/or autoregressive covariates—can increase the risk of falsely inferring that the outcome is a result of spatial diffusion. Indeed, we offer two applications where small changes to the model specification of an otherwise well-specified model result in drastically different inferences about policy diffusion. We argue that scholars should avoid haphazardly including TLSLs without considerable theoretical justification, and we conclude on an optimistic note by offering straightforward solutions and new software to address these issues.

Under Review

“The Importance of Agency and Oversight Capacity in Enhancing Accountability in Policy Implementation” with Lael R. Keiser

  • Invited to revise and resubmit at Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory

“Under Pressure: Centralizing Regulation in Response to Presidential Directives” with Jennifer Selin, Hanna Brant, Nicholas Brothers, and Jordan Butcher

“The Impact of Chinese Investments on Public Opinion in Latin America” with Adriana Boersner and Michael Hendricks

Works in Progress

“Delegated Oversight and the Politics of Problem Monitoring: The Case of Federal Inspectors General”

“Watchdogs or Partisan Pawns? Agenda Setting and GAO Oversight”

“Society of Deputies: The Negative Externalities of Coproduction” with Nicholas Brothers

“Politicization and Bureaucratic Resistance to External Oversight”

Teaching

Instructor

  • POLSC-1100 | American Government | Fall 2019

Lab Instructor

  • POLSC-3000 | Introduction to Political Research | Fall 2016

Graduate Workshops

Teaching Assistant

  • The American Presidency | Spring 2018
  • African American Politics | Fall 2017
  • Liberty Justice, and the Common Good | Fall 2015, Fall 2017
  • The American Constitution | Spring 2016

Contact