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Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

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Media and Democratic Systems of Governance

As an institution, the news media in the United States has undergone a major transformation over the last two decades.   Not only does the public now have a much wider range of choice of news outlets, but there has also been a shift from descriptive news to interpretative news.  This institutional shift has dramatic implications for the public, for politicians, and for policy.   CSDI’s research agenda involves examining the importance and influence of the news media in this new environment and our interest extends to the mass media in general, including political advertising, the World Wide Web, and the rise of social media.  We seek to explore the consequences of living in an information environment that runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on the conduct and performance of other political institutions, whether it be Congress, the Presidency or the Courts so as to better appreciate the workings of politics in the 21st Century. 

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Upcoming Events

10/9/15-CSDI Lunch Seminar - Larry Bartels - Vanderbilt University

10/23/15-CSDI Lunch Seminar - Joshua Murray, Vanderbilt & Jennifer Heerwig, Stony Brook University

11/13/15-CSDI Lunch Seminar - Leo Arriola, University of California, Berkeley

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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