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Policy Briefs

The mission of CSDI is to develop an intellectual community that can provide insights into how different political institutions can better effectively structure political debate, ameliorate conflicts, and influence policy outcomes. In keeping with this mission, the CSDI Policy Brief Series draws on the collective expertise of CSDI-affiliated faculty at Vanderbilt University to present timely, and policy-relevant analysis that helps illuminate various perspectives on contemporary policy debates and provides guidance on policy options if appropriate. These briefs will be published throughout the year, and they engage the wide range of topics that are studied by CSDI: Legislative Politics and Policymaking, Executive Politics and Regulatory Policymaking, Elections and Electoral Rules, and the role of Media in Democratic Systems of Governance.

Policy Brief Number Policy Brief Title
2014-03 The Irony of Congressional Oversight
2014-02 Partisan Conflict and Government Reform
2014-01 Managing Complex Civil Litigation: The Consolidation of Pending Federal Lawsuits
2013-08 How Presidents Choose Appointees:  Ideology, Expertise or Patronage?
2013-07 Adjudicating the Commerce Clause: How Price Effects Can Help to Evaluate State "Wine Wars"
2013-06 The Effects of Third-Party Litigation Funding
2013-05 What Explains Executive Turnover in the Federal Service
2013-04 If the Victors Get the Spoils, What Do Citizens Get?
2013-03 Can the Media Influence the Voting Behavior of Legislators?
2013-02 The Legislative Productivity of Congressional Women: Understanding When Women are Effective Lawmakers
2013-01 Does the Public Use Information to Hold Elected Officials Accountable for Educational Performance?

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CSDI Media Spotlight

NYT -In an analysis of the upcoming British general election, Paul Krugman draws on research by Larry Bartels ( to support the claim that voters' "short memories" provide "little or no political reward for good policy."

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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Democratic Institutions
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