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Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

CSDI policy brief

Center Highlights



Co-Director David Lewis and Graduate Affiliate Mark Richardson Co-director David Lewis led the 2014 Survey on the Future of Government Service, a major study of the backgrounds, experiences, and policy views of U.S. federal executives, including Senate-confirmed appointees, members of the Senior Executive Service and Senior Foreign Service, and other high-level government managers. Graduate affiliate Mark Richardson joined the Vanderbilt Ph.D. program after working as a bank examiner for the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions and the Federal Reserve System. He helped design and implement the 2014 Survey on the Future of Government Service, and is now using data from the survey in his dissertation research on the acquisition of expertise by federal officials.

CSDI  Awards and Announcements

1/22/14 CSDI Affiliate Cecilia Mo has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for her work testing the effects of mass media campaigns in Nepal and China on attitudes and behaviors regarding forced labor and child labor.

12/19/14 CSDI Working Paper 2014-7 titled ''Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness'' has been released. The paper is authored by Matthew P. Hitt, Craig Volden, and CSDI Affiliate Alan E. Wiseman.

12/9/14 CSDI Affiliate Alan Wiseman received the 2014 Jeffrey Nordhaus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from Vanderbilt's College of Arts and Science.

10/2/14 CSDI Working Paper 2014-6 titled ''Citizen Candidates and Voting Over Incentive‐Compatible Nonlinear Income Tax Schedules'' has been released. The paper is authored by Craig Brett and CSDI Affiliate John A. Weymark.

9/2/14 CSDI Working Paper 2014-5 titled ''Cognitive Diversity, Binary Decisions, and Epistemic Democracy'' has been released. The paper is authored by CSDI Affiliate John A. Weymark.

7/24/14 Congratulations to CSDI Co-Director Larry Bartels who will receive the Warren E. Miller Prize at this year's APSA meeting. The Miller Prize recognizes "an outstanding career of intellectual accomplishment and service to the profession in the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior field."

7/11/14 Steven Rogers is the recipient of the American Political Science Association's 2014 William Anderson Award, which is awarded annually for the best dissertation in the general field of federalism or intergovernmental relations, state and local politics.

7/01/14 Congratulations to CSDI Postdoctoral Fellow, Steven Rogers for being named as a co-recipient for the American Political Science Association Christopher Mooney Dissertation Award for "Accountability in a Federal System". Rogers will be presented the award at the 2014 APSA Conference in Washington D.C., this August. 

6/20/14 CSDI Working Paper 2014-4 titled "Everything to Everyone: The Electoral Consequences of Broad Policy Appeals in Europe" has been released. The paper is authored by CSDI Affiliate Zeynep Somer-Topcu.

6/18/14 Two CSDI Working Papers 2014-02 and 2014-03, respectively, have been released.  Both authored by CSDI Affiliate Bruce I. Oppenheimer are titled, "ANWR and CAFE: Frustrating Energy Production and Conservation Initiatives over Three Decades," and "It's Hard to Get Mileage Out of Congress: Struggling Over CAFE Standards,1973-2013".


Geer Honored for Educational Contributions

John Geer, CSDI Co-Director and Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science, has received the 2014 Vanderbilt Alumni Education Award. geerThe Vanderbilt University Alumni Association Board of Directors selected Geer for his significant contributions to educational programming as a speaker for Vanderbilt Reunion and other alumni events. 

"In his Reunion/Homecoming educational program Professor Geer challenged our notions that negative political advertising was harmful to democracy," said presenter Thomas Conner, Alumni Association Board Member of Nashville, Tenn. "He also shared his valuable political insight during numerous other alumni gatherings."

Geer has taught political science at Vanderbilt since 1996. He has published five books and more than 20 articles on presidential politics and elections, and recently served as editor of The Journal of Politics. He has provided extensive commentary in the news media on politics, including live nationwide interviews for FOX, CNN, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, ABC and NPR. Geer has also written op-ed pieces for Politico, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Chicago Tribune.

Survey on the Future of Government

CSDI Media Spotlight


Tennessean -  Reports "Vanderbilt receives $1M grant to combat child labor." The $1M grant was awarded to CSDI Affiliate Cecilia Mo from the U.S. Department of Labor. 

Washington Post - Larry Bartels asks "Can 'conservative principles' boost working-class incomes?"

Washington Post - Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden outline "The 5 Habits of Highly Effective Legislators."

Tennessean - Latest Vanderbilt Poll showcases Tennesseans' views on abortion, Common Core and Medicaid Expansion

NYT - Larry Bartels has documented that the rich have about three times as much influence as the poor on votes in the United States Senate.

VoxWhy the Israel-Palestine conversation is so polarized -  A 2006 study by Larry Bartels and Chris Achen (Princeton) is referenced. 

Vanderbilt News In 2013, Seigenthaler and author David Maraniss co-led a conversation at the First Amendment Center about the Gettysburg Address to mark its 150th anniversary...

Washington Post  - U.S. presidential election results, for example, can be remarkably and accurately predicted by economic growth preceding the election...

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  • 4/10/15 CSDI Weekly Seminar - Fang-Yi Chou, Academia Sinica (Taipei)


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The Center for the Study of
Democratic Institutions
Vanderbilt University
PMB 505
230 Appleton Place
Nashville TN 37203

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Phone: 615.875.6954
Fax: 615.343.6003