Workshop in American Politics

Gregory A. Caldeira
Distinguished University Professor
Ann and Darrell Dreher Chair in Political Communication & Policy Thinking
Professor of Law
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210

William Minozzi
Assistant Professor
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210


2016-2017 Presentations

Frances Lee, University of Maryland
September 14, 2016
12-1:30 PM
Keith Poole, University of Georgia
October 12, 2016
12-1:30 PM
Jeff Jenkins, University of Virginia
October 26, 2016
12-1:30 PM
Thomas Leeper, London School of Economics
November 16, 2016
12-1:30 PM

2015-2016 Presentations

Amber Boydstun, University of California, Davis
September 17, 2015
9:30-11:00 AM

Efrén Pérez, Vanderbilt University
October 8, 2015
9:30-11:00 AM

Melissa Marschall, Rice University
November 12, 2015
9:30-11:00 AM

J. Eric Oliver, University of Chicago
January 21, 2016
11:30-1:00 PM

Seth Masket, University of Denver
January 28, 2016
11:30-1:00 PM

David Bateman, Cornell University
March 24, 2016
11:30-1:00 PM

George Krause, University of Pittsburgh
April 21, 2016
11:30-1:00 PM


Past Presentations

Justin Grimmer, Stanford University
September 25, 2013
12:00-1:30 PM
Topic: “The Impression of Influence: How Legislator Communication and Government Spending Cultivate a Personal Vote”
pdf file Paper

Neil Malhotra, Stanford University
October 9, 2013
12:00-1:30 PM
Topic: “Why Do Asian Americans Identify as Democrats? Testing Theories of Social Exclusion and Group Solidarity (co-authored with Alexander Kuo and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo)”
Abstract: Why are Asian Americans overwhelmingly likely to identify as Democrats? Despite that (1) income and voting for the Republican Party are highly correlated, and (2) Asians are the most affuent ethnic group in the United States, Asians decisively vote for Democrats, not Repub-licans. We focus on two explanations to help resolve this puzzle: social exclusion and group solidarity. According to the first explanation, Asians perceive the Republican Party as exclud-ing them from society and therefore not serving their interests. Social exclusion arises from Asians’ perceptions that they are viewed as less “American.” The second explanation, while not mutually exclusive, focuses on the propensity of Asian Americans to identify with other ethnic minority groups that already identify with the Democratic Party, and thus believe they have common interests with such groups rather than whites. With detailed observational data and two experimental studies, we find that social exclusion and group solidarity are important explanations for why Asians are more supportive of the Democratic Party. Our findings have important implications for the relevance of identity-oriented explanations to minority political behavior in American electoral politics.

Christopher Bonneau, University of Pittsburgh
October 16, 2013
12:00-1:30 PM
Topic: “Getting Things Straight: The Effects of Ballot Design and Electoral Structure on Voter Participation” 
Abstract: This paper considers the implications of the straight--party voting option (STVO) on participation in judicial elections. Voters using straight--party options (by definition) do not vote for candidates in nonpartisan elections. Consequently, ballot roll--off in these elections is more likely to occur when people are given the chance to vote the party ticket and complete the voting process quickly. This is the case because nonpartisan judicial elections are considerably less salient than statewide and federal partisan elections. This article separates out the effects of the institutional structure of the election on political participation with the effects of ballot structure. We find that in nonpartisan elections, the straight--party option decreases voter participation since voters who utilize the straight-ticket option may erroneously believe that they have voted for these nonpartisan offices, or simply ignore them. However, in nonpartisan elections without straight-ticket voting, participation is increased compared to nonpartisan elections with straight--ticket voting. Additionally, both forms of nonpartisan elections have less participation than partisan elections, all of which have the straight--ticket option. Thus, voter participation is affected not only by the type of election, but the type of voting rules in the election.

Yanna Krupnikov, Northwestern University
November 13, 20133
12:00-1:30 PM
Topic: Saving Face: Identifying Voter Responses to Black and Female Candidates
Abstract: Much of what we know about public opinion and political behavior comes from survey and experimental research. Yet the accuracy of survey data is threatened by the possibility that social desirability pressures contaminate self-reporting. We address this threat in a project that considers research on voter responses to black candidates and female candidates in the United States. Such research is often plagued by the possibility that social desirability pressures inflate self-reports of support for these candidates. Therefore, we present a psychological approach to reduce social desirability pressures. We analyze this approach across three commonly used samples: undergraduate, adult convenience, and nationally representative. Our results suggest that existing research overestimates voter support for black and female candidates. 
pdf file Paper

Brendan Nyhan, Dartmouth College
March 19, 2013
12:00-1:30 PM
Topic: Tipping the Scales? Testing for Political Influence on Public Corruption Prosecutions
Abstract: As both officers of the court and political appointees, U.S. attorneys face a conflict of interest in cases involving the two major political parties. We find evidence of partisan differences in the timing of public corruption case filings around elections — a setting in which politics are salient but bias is difficult to observe. Unlike co-partisans, individuals associated with the party that opposes the president are substantially more likely to be charged immediately before an election than afterward. We find a corresponding decrease in case duration before elections for opposition partisans, suggesting that prosecutors are moving more quickly to file cases. By contrast, severe charges are more likely to be filed against co-partisans immediately after elections relative to before, suggesting that cases that are potentially damaging to the president’s party are being deferred. However, prosecutors do not appear to be bringing weaker cases against opposition partisans before elections; we find no measurable difference in conviction rates. In fact, co-partisan defendants received less favorable treatment in plea bargains and sentencing until recently — a discrepancy we attribute to greater potential for external scrutiny.