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Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

Highlights & Happenings


PFV CSDI Is Now Accepting Applications for 2016-17 Visiting Scholars

CSDI is currently accepting applications for visiting scholars conducting research on political institutions, opinion or behavior during the 16-17 academic year. We are seeking up to three Post-doctoral Scholars (a year long fellowship for applicants with doctoral degrees received between September 1, 2013 and August 1, 2016) and up to three Senior Visiting Scholars (for applicants of all ranks, with a length of up to one year to be negotiated on a case-by case basis). Priority will be given to applications received before January 15, 2016. For more information see the "Fellowship" tab above.


PFVCSDI Co-Directors John Geer and Josh Clinton Release the First Nashville Vanderbilt University Poll

In January 2011, CSDI launched the Vanderbilt Poll to provide a non-partisan and scientifically based reading of public opinion within the state of Tennessee and city of Nashville. The Vanderbilt Poll conducts surveys at least twice a year, prior to the start of the state legislative session and at its conclusion. In September 2015, the Poll carried out its first survey of Nashville. Read More


Jerry WrightCSDI Welcomes Senior Visiting Professor     Gerald Wright

CSDI is pleased to welcome Senior Visiting Professor Jerry Wright. Professor Wright (Indiana University) will be in residence for the entire 15-16 academic year. His research centers on the linkages between citizens and their governments.  He is the author or co-author of four books, Electoral Choice in America (1974), Congress and Policy Change (1986), Statehouse Democracy (1993), and Keeping the Republic 2d edition (2003) as well as over forty articles and book chapters.  His current research is on legislative coalitions, elections and representation in a comparative study of the state legislatures and Congress.


PFVCSDI Welcomes 15-16 Postdoctoral Fellows Melinda Ritchie and Nara Pavão

CSDI is happy to announce that our 15-16 Postdoctoral Fellows have arrived to begin their appointments.

Melinda (Molly) Ritchie recently defended her dissertation at the University of Illinois. Her research examines how members of Congress engage with bureaucratic agencies on policy issues and promotes our understanding of how the relationships between legislators and the executive branch influence the formation and implementation of policy.

Nara Pavão was just granted her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. Her academic interests primarily focus on corruption, public opinion and voting behavior - more specifically on their intersection with issues of democratic governance and electoral accountability.


PFVFernández-Vázquez has Paper Published

CSDI Postdoctoral Fellow Pablo Fernández-Vázquez and co-authors Pablo Barberá and Gonzalo Rivero's paper Rooting Out Corruption or Rooting For Corruption? The Heterogeneous Electoral Consequences of Scandals  will be published in the August 2015 issue of  Political Science Research and Methods. PSRM is the official journal of the European Political Science Association.


NPCLewis and Richardson Release Results of the Survey on the Future of Government Service at the National Press Club, Washington D.C

CSDI Co-Director David Lewis and Graduate Affiliate Mark Richardson released the results of the Survey on the Future of Government Service during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on July 16th. Read more


Wiseman Book Receives Top HonorsWiseman book

CSDI Faculty Affiliate Alan Wiseman and co-author Craig Volden have been awarded both the American Political Science Associations 2015 Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the year's best book on U.S. national policy as well as the  2015 Richard F. Fenno, Jr Prize which is awarded to the best book in legislative studies published in the previous year.They will receive the awards for their book, Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers at the annual APSA meeting in September.


Claire Abernathy Abernathy Successfully Defends Dissertation

CSDI Graduate Affiliate Claire Abernathy has successfully defended her dissertation, Legislative Correspondence Management Practices: Congressional Offices and the Treatment of Constituent Opinion.  Claire's research focuses on Congress and representation. In her dissertation, she gathered original data from surveys and interviews with congressional staffers to explore how members of Congress discern the policy preferences held by their constituents. This fall, she will join the Political Science program at Stockton University in Galloway, NJ as an Assistant Professor (tenure track).


Clinton New Editor-in- Chief of QJPSQJPS

CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton and Scott Ashworth were named editors-in-chief of the Quarterly Journal of Political Science. QJPS is dedicated to the publication of research developing and testing the empirical implications of positive political theories.

column Larry Bartels

Bartels named Andrew Carnegie Fellow

Larry Bartels, CSDI Co-director and May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science was named a Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Bartels is one of 31 fellows who comprise the inaugural class of the major annual scholarship program which provides support for scholars in the social sciences and humanities. Read more

smallcolumn Alan Wiseman

Wiseman discusses the Legislative Effectiveness Project on University of Chicago Radio Harris Podcast

CSDI faculty affiliate Alan Wiseman  recently returned from the University of Chicago,  Harris School of Public Policy where he visited the Center for Policy Entrepreneurship. While there he was featured on a University of Chicago Radio Harris podcast discussing the Legislative Effectiveness ProjectWiseman and his co-author Craig Volden have developed a systematic measure of the legislative effectiveness of members of Congress. The ratings can be found in their recent book, Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers, and on their website

column VU poll

11th Vanderbilt Poll Released

CSDI co-directors Josh Clinton and John Geer released the findings of the most recent Vanderbilt poll at a press conference on May 13th. The poll showed that an overwhelming percentage of registered voters in Tennessee want " Insure Tennessee" to move out of committee and face a vote by the entire state legislature. Read more


Upcoming Events

CSDI Lunch Seminars will resume in January. Enjoy the Holidays!

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Latest Research



6/30/15 CSDI Working Paper 2015-2 titled "Controlling Agency Choke Points: Presidents and Regulatory Personnel Turnover" has been released. The paper is authored by Kathleen M. Doherty, David E. Lewis and Scott Limbocker.

4/1/15 CSDI Working Paper 2015-1 titled"Incorporating Legislative Effectiveness into Nonmarket Strategy: The Case of Financial Services Reform and the Great Recession"has been released. The paper is authored by Craig Volden and CSDI Affiliate Alan E. Wiseman.

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

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Media Spotlight - 8/19/15 - CSDI Co-Director Josh Clinton, graduate affiliate Carrie Roush, and Dr. John Lapinski, Director of the Elections Unit at NBC news take a closer look at Trump supporters.

Washington Post - 8/3/15 - CSDI Co-Director David Lewis and graduate affiliate Mark Richardson's Survey on the Future of Government Service is examined - 7/22/15 - CSDI Co-director John Geer is quoted in an article about Donald Trump's participation in the upcoming republican presidential debate in Cleveland.

The Fiscal Times - 7/20/15 - CSDI Co-Director David Lewis is quoted in an article about Jeb Bush's plan to reduce the federal workforce.

Newsweek -7/17/15 - CSDI Co-Director David Lewis discusses "How to Keep Good People Working in Government."

Tennessean - 7/10/15 - CSDI Co-Directors Joshua Clinton and John Geer Op-Ed, "Beware of Internal Polls to Name Nashville's Next Mayor


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Contact the CSDI

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

CSDI Poster




Phone: 615.875.6954
Fax: 615.343.6003