Welcome! I am an Instructor in the Department of Political Science at MIT, where I will begin as an Assistant Professor in January 2020. I study American political institutions, electoral geography, quantitative methods, and causal inference.
My research sits at the intersection of federalism and democratic representation. It explores the strategic interactions between national, state, and local governments and their respective constituencies as they engage in the policy process. A recurring theme of my work across the wide range of venues that I study, from state legislatures to school boards to county sheriff elections, is that subnational governments are emerging as a site of contestation for major national political battles. What is more, my recent work on immigration shows that electoral considerations condition how local agents enforce the law.
Taken together, my findings raise important questions about how minorities that have historically been underrepresented in national politics will fare on the evolving local stage. My research agenda is therefore motivated by the sense that, due to the high degree of institutional variation across America’s multi-layered electoral landscape, old questions about how the rules of the game aggregate preferences and shape incentives for representation are imbued with new significance. I use innovative data sources and causal inference techniques to address these questions, with the hope that my findings inform policy conversations.
I also love to teach statistical methods at all levels. I have taught entering undergraduates data visualization with R through the wonderful Freshman Scholars Institute, Princeton’s statistical programming boot camp for graduate students in the social sciences, and in my department’s PhD quantitative analysis sequence.
I believe in putting data to work to improve public policy. Before entering academia, I worked with MDRC on randomized control trials of programs for low-income populations, focusing on reforming the way community colleges serve students requiring developmental education. I’ve also worked with the Consortium on Chicago School Research, the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center, and the ASER Centre in New Delhi.