I study American politics, with a focus on political behavior, public policy, urban politics, and experimental and quantitative methodology.

My research examines how citizens hold government accountable, and how both psychology and electoral institutions can subvert their ability to do so. I address this question by applying creative data on local politics – a level of government that people interact with on a daily basis, and one that constitutes the vast majority of elected officials and elections in the United States. Methodologically, my work blends several approaches. I gather large-scale elections data, partner with governments and service providers to conduct original surveys, and use modern causal research designs that test my theories. My findings indicate that people’s psychological biases, the institutions that shape elections, and government communication can affect whether people rationally punish and reward governments for performance. In turn, the policies that create these responsibilities and institutions have the power to greatly help or hinder democratic accountability.

My work has received the Norton Long Young Scholar Award from the APSA Urban Politics Section and has been supported by funding from the Boston Area Research Initiative. I obtained a B.A. in Government and Psychology from the College of William & Mary, and received my PhD from the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In July 2017 I will join the Boston Area Research Initiative at Northeastern University and Harvard University as a postdoctoral research associate.


 

jdbk@mit.edu

Department of Political Science
77 Massachusetts Avenue, E53-408
Cambridge, MA 02139