Ansolabehere, Stephen Daniel, Hirano, Shigeo, Hansen, John Mark, and Snyder, James M., Jr.
Hirano, Shigeo, James M. Snyder Jr., Stephen Daniel Ansolabehere, and John Mark Hansen. 2010. Primary elections and partisan polarization in the U.S. Congress. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 5(2): 169-191.
Many observers and scholars argue that primary elections contribute to ideological polarization in U.S. politics. We test this claim using congressional elections and roll call voting behavior. Many of our findings are null. We find little evidence that the introduction of primary elections, the level of primary election turnout, or the threat of primary competition are associated with partisan polarization in congressional roll call voting. We also find little evidence that extreme roll call voting records are positively associated with primary election outcomes. A positive finding is that general election competition exerts pressure toward convergence as extreme roll call voting is negatively correlated with general election outcomes. Government
Alvin Hansen Symposium on Public Policy (4th : 2007 : Harvard University), Books24x7, Inc., Bhagwati, Jagdish N., 1934-, Blinder, Alan S., Friedman, Benjamin M., and Alvin Hansen Symposium on Public Policy (4th : 2007 : Harvard University)
Aldy, Joseph Edgar, Kotchen, Matthew J, and Leiserowitz, Anthony A
Aldy, Joseph E., Matthew J. Kotchen, and Anthony A. Leiserowitz. 2012. Willingness to Pay and Political Support for a U.S. National Clean Energy Standard. Nature Climate Change. 2(5).
Environment and Natural Resources, Regulatory Policy, national clean energy standard, climate change, and United States
In 2010 and 2011, Republicans and Democrats proposed mandating clean power generation in the electricity sector. To evaluate public support for a national clean energy standard (NCES), we conducted a nationally representative survey that included randomized treatments on the sources of eligible power generation and program costs. We find that the average American is willing to pay $162 per year in higher electricity bills (95% confidence interval: $128-$260), representing a 13% increase , in support of a NCES that requires 80% clean energy by 2035. Support for a NCES is lower among non-whites, older individuals, and Republicans. We also employ our statistical model, along with census data for each state and Congressional district , to simulate voting behavior on a NCES by Members of Congress assuming they vote consistent with the preferences of their median voter. We estimate that Senate passage of a NCES would require an average household cost below $59 per year, while House passage would require costs below $48 per year. The results imply that an “80% by 2035” NCES could pass both chambers of Congress if it increases electricity rates less than 5% on average.
Hertel-Fernandez, Alexander W., Skocpol, Theda, Hall, Peter, Thelen, Kathleen, and Martin, Cathie Jo
Hertel-Fernandez, Alexander W. 2016. Whose Bills? Corporate Interests and Conservative Mobilization Across the U.S. States, 1973-2013. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Political Science and General
In recent decades, conservative groups have become increasingly active in mobilizing corporations to press their interests not just on the U.S. Congress and federal agencies, but also on legislatures in the fifty U.S. states. Why and how has such mobilization occurred, what accounts for its effectiveness in certain contexts, and what has been the response from liberal actors? To develop answers to these questions, this dissertation examines the rise and impact of one group – the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – and two of its allies, the State Policy Network (SPN) and Americans for Prosperity (AFP), on the American political economy. Using a combination of archival evidence, interviews, and quantitative analyses, I document the ways that ALEC has developed especially effective strategies for negotiating the tensions inherent in coalitions between diverse businesses and political conservatives, and also how the group has exploited the low levels of policy resources available to lawmakers in many state legislatures. Next, I illustrate how the two newer networks – SPN and AFP – have bolstered ALEC’s efforts in the states. Using two important case studies – retrenchment of public employee bargaining rights and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – I show how the strength and coordination of these three networks exerts an independent effect on the substance of state policy. I also discuss the reasons why left-wing efforts to construct a similar infrastructure of progressive cross-state lobbying groups have faltered. In the final empirical chapter, I look at the companies that have chosen to participate in ALEC and SPN. I find that above all, companies with greater threats from public policy were more likely to rely on these organizations. The second half of the chapter turns from explaining participation in ALEC to its effects on individual companies. My analysis shows that companies that participate in ALEC for longer periods of time are more likely to hold conservative policy stands and to exhibit less socially responsible labor and environmental practices. The conclusion summarizes the major contributions of the dissertation, and discusses its implications for debates about money in politics and political representation in an era of increasing inequality. Social Policy
Baggott, Erin Ashley, Simmons, Beth A., Johnston, A. Iain, and Spirling, Arthur
Baggott, Erin Ashley. 2016. Three Essays on U.S. - China Relations. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Political Science, General, and International Law and Relations
My dissertation argues that the United States and China employ diplomacy to secure international cooperation, but that their domestic politics render it more elusive. International relations theory regards talk as cheap. It argues that states cannot employ verbal communication to overcome structural conditions that ostensibly favor conflict. Can a security-seeking state use diplomacy to affect another’s assessment of shared interests and elicit substantive cooperation? To answer this question, my first paper analyzes original datasets of US-China diplomatic exchanges and American assessments of shared interests with China. I find that, as diplomats have long observed, diplomacy is a forum for states to exchange concessions that render both sides better off. Chinese diplomacy improves American assessments of shared interests and increases the probability of bilateral cooperation. My second paper develops a theory of diversionary aggression in autocracies. When rent transfers to political elites decline, leadership challenges become more likely. Autocrats may inoculate themselves against these challenges by courting popular support with diversionary foreign policy and nationalist propaganda. Using original data on elite transfers, diplomatic interactions, and propaganda from China, I find broad support for the theory. As much as 40% of China’s conflict initiation toward the United States appears to be diversionary. My third paper argues that American congressional politics reduce the president’s ability to secure international cooperation. Using an original dataset of legislative hostility toward China, I find that when Congress introduces legislation hostile to China, China penalizes the president by reducing its willingness to cooperate by a factor of four. Most broadly, these results suggest that the benefits accorded to democracies in international relations may be circumscribed under some conditions. Government
Park, Edward S. 2016. Role Models Deserving of Regulatory Support or Pretenders With Obsolete Purpose? A Study of Mutual Banks in the U.S.. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
Business Administration, Banking, Economics, Finance, and Law
The new Dodd-Frank era in bank regulation imposes stricter standards and requirements for banks. In contrast, there have been a number of attempts in Congress to legislatively protect with more accommodative regulation a specific type of banks that are in the mutual form, based on the notion that mutual banks are valuable to the banking system. In light of these developments, I investigate how mutual banks compare to stock banks, in order to assess whether there exists tangible evidence of mutual banks deserving regulatory protection. I examined the past 10-year financial data on all mutual and stock banks in the U.S. to determine how each type compared to the other in terms of performance, risk-taking, operational efficiency, and potential benefits to ownership. I found that stock banks had higher earnings than mutual banks on average, even during the most recent financial crisis when losses were severe. I found no compelling evidence that mutual banks were better than stock banks in terms of efficiency and providing benefits to ownership. I also confirmed findings of previous studies in this area that mutual banks take less risk than stock banks and exhibit expense-preference behaviors, probably for maximizing manager utility. Being mindful of the select number of variables tested and other limitations identified during the research process, I cautiously conclude that there is no obvious evidence revealing clear advantages of mutual banks over stock banks to the extent legislative and regulatory protection for mutual banks would be warranted.