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Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

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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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Upcoming Events

8/25/17 - lunch seminar with Alex Theodoridis, CSDI SVS

9/8/17 - lunch seminar with Nicholas Eubank, CSDI postdoc

9/15/17 - lunch seminar with Patricia Kirkland, CSDI postdoc

Latest Research

4/12/17 - CSDI Working Paper 2017-5 titled "Political Inequality in Affluent Democracies: The Social Welfare Deficit." has been released. The paper is authored by Larry M. Bartels

3/28/17 - CSDI Working Paper 2017-4 titled "Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Senate." has been released. The paper is authored by Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman

2/27/17 - CSDI Working Paper 2017-3 titled "When Do the Advantaged See the Disadvantages of Others? A Quasi-Experimental Study of National Service." has been released. The paper is authored by Katharine Conn and Cecilia Hyunjung Mo.

2/21/17 - CSDI Working Paper 20172 titled "Personnel System Under Stress: Results of the 2014 Survey on the Future of Government Service" has been released. The Paper is authored by David E. Lewis and Mark D. Richardson.

1/9/17 - CSDI Workng Paper 2017-1 titled "Political Control and the Presidential Spending Power" has been released. The paper is authored by David E. Lewis

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Media Spotlight

Washington Post - Monkey Cage - 6/29/17 - Affiliate Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden - "Senators used to excel at lawmaking. Now, not so much. Here's what needs to change."

Washington Post - Monkey Cage - 4/27/17 - Co-Director David Lewis demonstrates how "So far, Trump is really struggling as a chief executive. "

Washington Post - Monkey Cage - 3/2/17 - Co- Director David Lewis explains "Why Donald Trump needs the 'administrative state' that Steve Bannon wants to Destroy." - 2/2/2017 - Co- Director David Lewis explains how "President Trump can dampen the criticism by revving up his hiring machine."

The Hill - 2/5/17-  Co- Director David Lewis argues "Reducing federal debt will require Trump to take a holistic approach."

The Conversation - 1/26/17 - Co-Director David Lewis discusses the Trump administration and its handling of the federal workforce in "Trump takes on federal workforce of 2.8 million that's showing signs of stress."

Washington Post- Monkey Cage - 1/4/17 -  Affiliate Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden discuss "How term limits for committee chairs make Congress less effective."

Washington Post- Monkey Cage - 1/3/17 -  Affiliate Alan Wiseman and Craig Volden ask "Does bipartisanship even work in today's polarized Congress? Yes."

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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

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Phone: 615.875.6954
Fax: 615.343.6003