US Capitol building

The Research Workshop in American Politics brings together faculty and graduate students in American politics to share their work in an informal setting. The seminar meets weekly and covers a broad range of topics in American politics. It is primarily a forum for the presentation and discussion of research in progress by graduate students at UC Berkeley. Students who take the workshop for credit as PS 291 will make at least one presentation of work-in-progress per semester and will serve as a discussant for another student or faculty member's presentation at least once per semester. There are also occasional presentations by invited speakers.

This seminar is closed to the public, and attendance is up to the professor’s discretion.

For more information, contact David Nield (dnield [at]

Wednesdays, 12 to 1:30 PM

Location: 119 Moses Hall

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
12:00pm to 2:00pm
Political parties around the world use varying methods to recruit activists, select candidates, and allocate resources. But our knowledge about how these rules impact voting behavior is limited. This paper presents a spatial model examining how party institutions shape party, candidate positions, and electoral success. In...
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
12:00pm to 1:30pm
"Malice and Stupidity: Outgroup Motive Attribution and Affective Polarization" Abstract: Affective polarization has steadily increased over the past decades, weakening voters’ willingness to cross party lines, support bipartisan compromise, and consider information from outgroup sources. Existing scholarship on the reason...
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
12:00pm to 1:30pm
"Responsiveness and Election Cycles in the Permitting of Housing" Abstract: How responsive are elected officials to the policy preferences of their constituents? Studies of federal and state outcomes show that policy often does not align with public opinion. Votes on the policies measured in these studies are relatively...
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Abstract: Political scientists often characterize state and local governments as marginal and highly constrained in policymaking. This project, however, suggests that in recent decades state governments have moved from the margins to the center of partisan battles over the direction of U.S. public policy. I use novel...
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Abstract: At some times in American history, national political parties incorporate heterogeneous geographic and ideological constituencies (like Northern and Southern Democrats in the mid-twentieth century), while at other times, political parties are ideologically unified and geographically concentrated. We refer to the...
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
12:00pm to 1:30pm
Conducting representative surveys has become increasingly hard and expensive. In this presentation, we report on an inexpensive approach: emailing registered voters. Almost 40% of registered voters in California listed an email address when registering to vote and the law allows us to contact them for surveys. With a small...
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
12:00pm to 1:30pm
The Berkeley IGS Poll, housed within IGS’s newly established Jack Citrin Center for Public Opinion Research, completed another of its periodic statewide surveys of the California public in May. The May Berkeley IGS Poll covered a range of different political and public policy issues facing the state and the nation. Mr...
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
12:00pm to 1:15pm
"Keeping Gender in the Picture: A Narrow Path to Success for Female Candidates" Abstract: Does candidate gender still matter to voters? Extensive research suggests that women no longer face an Election Day disadvantage, despite a vast corpus of work suggesting that voters rely on superficial, appearance-based assessments...
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
12:00pm to 2:00pm
"Campaign Contributions and the Extended Networks of Activist Groups" Are individual campaign donors atomized actors or are they members of activist networks? Individuals who donate to legislative campaigns are increasingly associated with national activist organizations like environmental, anti-abortion, and ideological...
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
12:00pm to 1:15pm
"Formal Models of Presidential Unilateral Action" Abstract: Patterns of presidential unilateral action have received increasing attention starting largely with Moe and Howell (1999) and continuing through Howell (2003). Yet in the nearly two decades that have followed, the literature has made little progress in...
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
12:00pm to 1:30pm
"Public Announcements or Private Audiences: Communication in Political Hierarchies" This paper analyzes the ability of a political agent to communicate policy-relevant information to other actors tasked with implementing policies. The model contributes to the body of literature examining the relative efficacy of public and...
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
12:00pm to 1:30pm
"One-Party States, Uncompetitive Elections and Congressional Polarization" Prominent theories suggest that political parties in competitive elections should converge to the median voter on a left-right ideological space. So why have Congressional parties polarized in recent decades? This paper observes that historically,...
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
12:00pm to 2:00pm
"Out of Step, but in the News? The Milquetoast Coverage of Incumbent Representatives" Why do citizens routinely fail to vote out-of-step representatives out of office and what institutions can help voters hold politicians accountable? In this paper, I collect an original dataset of local newspaper coverage of candidates in...