My dissertation research shows how both human psychology and electoral institutions can hinder voters’ ability to hold their governments accountable. Specifically, I use individual-linked information on train delays in a natural experiment to show that the confusion around government responsibility and a perceptual bias favoring recent information shape how voters evaluate government for performance. Separately, I collect original elections data and document how election timing hampers voters from effectively holding their incumbent politicians accountable. My three-paper dissertation uses a broad spectrum of original data on local politics – an underexplored area that presents myriad opportunities to study accountability, political behavior, and the causes and effects of public policy.


"Off-Cycle and Out of Office: Election Timing and the Incumbency Advantage." Journal of Politics, forthcoming. (pdf) (replication data)

"Mayoral Partisanship and Municipal Fiscal Policy," (with Christopher Warshaw). Journal of Politics 78(4): 1124-1138. October 2016. (pdf) (replication data)

Evidence in Voting Rights Act Litigation: Producing Accurate Estimates of Racial Voting Patterns." Election Law Journal 14(4): 361-381. December 2015. (pdf)

“Vote-Seeking Third Parties in the Twentieth Century" (with Ron Rapoport) in Guide to U.S. Political Parties, ed. Marjorie Hershey, CQ Press, 2014.

“A balancing act: Physical balance, through arousal, influences size perception" (with Michael Geuss, Jeanine Stefanucci, and Nicholas Stevens). Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics 72(7): 1890-1902. October 2010.


Working Papers

"The Role of Attribution in Accountability: Evidence from Train Delays." (pdf)

"Electoral Incentives and Strategic Municipal Government Communication."

“The Effect of Associative Racial Cues in Elections," (with Adam Berinsky, Michele Margolis, and Megan Goldberg).

“Persuasion in Hard Places: Accounting for Selective Exposure in Estimating the Persuasive Effects of Partisan Media," (with Adam Berinsky, Matthew Baum, and Teppei Yamamoto).


In Progress

"A Field Experiment to Stimulate Citizen Engagement," (with Ryan EnosMichael Hankinson, and Melissa Sands).

"The Effect of County Council Elections on Fiscal Policies," (with Christopher Warshaw).

"Words Don't Fit The Picture: Using Computer Vision to Measure Speaker Sentiment in Videos," (with Dean Knox and Christopher Lucas).

“Realistic Image Primes in Experimental Research," (with Tess Wise).



MBTAr: R package to access data from the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) web API.

seeclickfixr: R package to interface with the SeeClickFix constituent request web API.