Publications

Ban, Pamela, Maxwell Palmer and Benjamin Schneer.  2019.  "From the Halls of Congress to K Street: Government Experience and its Value for Lobbying." Legislative Studies Quarterly 44(4): 714-752.

Ban, Pamela and Hye Young You.  2019.  "Presence and Influence in Lobbying: Evidence from Dodd-Frank."  Business and Politics 21(2): 267-295.

Ban, Pamela, Alexander Fouirnaies, Andrew B. Hall, and James M. Snyder, Jr.  2019.  "How Newspapers Reveal Political Power."  Political Science Research and Methods 7(4): 661-678.

Ban, Pamela, Elena Llaudet, and James M. Snyder, Jr.  2016.  "Challenger Quality and the Incumbency Advantage."  Legislative Studies Quarterly 41(1): 153-179.

Selected Works in Progress

"How Does the Rising Number of Women in the U.S. Congress Change the Dynamics of Policy-making? Evidence from House Committee Hearings" (with Justin Grimmer, Jaclyn Kaslovsky, and Emily West).  Invited to Revise and Resubmit.

"How Are Politicians Informed? Witness Testimony and Information Provision in Congress" (with Ju Yeon Park and Hye Young You).

How are politicians informed and who do politicians seek information from?  Congressional committee hearings have played a crucial role in how members of Congress acquire information, make decisions, and communicate with key stakeholders.  To examine the information flow between Congress and witnesses from external groups, we construct a novel dataset that represents the most comprehensive data collection to date on congressional committee hearings and witnesses spanning 1960-2018.  We use the content of witness testimonies from the 105th-114th Congresses in particular to scale the level of analytical information provided by witnesses, demonstrating that different types of witnesses provide different levels of analytical information.  We then examine witness invitation patterns across 74,082 hearings and 755,540 witnesses who testified in Congress during the 60-year period of our data and find how committees invite different types of witnesses based on institutional conditions.  Finally, we show how changes in the internal capacity of Congress, namely the elimination of the Office of Technology Assessment in 1995, drive committees to change their behavior in how much -- and from whom -- they seek external information.

"Some Politics is Local: Constituent Emphasis and Local Orientation in the U.S. Congress" (with Jaclyn Kaslovsky).

 

What influences representational style? Although the representation literature has highlighted the extent to which legislators present themselves as district- or nationally-oriented, a consistent and replicable measure of representative orientation has so far remained elusive. In this paper, we leverage congressional speech to capture a legislator's degree of local orientation in Congress.  Specifically, we use all available congressional committee hearing transcripts from 1999 to 2018 and examine what types of legislators are more likely to exhibit a local focus during an important step in the policy making process where constituent and local interests may be particularly salient for member behavior. We also investigate what leads certain legislators to emphasize their constituents as a justification for their preferences to their fellow committee members. Overall, this paper contributes to the study of representation by providing the first systematic analysis of representative orientation in the committee stage, shedding light on what kinds of legislators are more likely to exhibit a stronger local focus and higher constituent emphasis in Congress.

"Leadership Power in Congress, 1890-2014: Evidence from PAC Contributions and Newspaper Coverage" (with Daniel Moskowitz and James M. Snyder, Jr.)  Invited to Revise and Resubmit.

Congressional scholars have long studied the relative power of parties and committees.  Empirical evidence is limited on the relative power of party and committee leaders due to the difficulty of observing the power of legislators. To overcome difficulties in measuring elite power, we propose a creative solution: analyze the behavior of two astute observers of Congress, interest groups and newspapers. Since PACs are sophisticated donors who target contributions for access and influence, following the money allows us to measure relative power. From 1978-2014, we find a close relationship between party polarization and the share of PAC contributions to party leaders.  Another measure of power, based on the share of newspaper coverage of party leaders, produces similar patterns from 1890-2014. Our results suggest a strong shift in power to party leaders as intra-party preferences converge and inter-party preferences diverge.

 

"Descriptive Representation and the Legislative Agenda: Evidence from California" (with Rebecca Goldstein).

Does descriptive representation matter for substantive representation? This question has historically been difficult to answer due to the difficulty of precisely measuring the racially representative nature of legislative behavior. In this paper, we examine a racially divisive issue -- prison reform -- in the context of the California State Assembly, the nation’s most diverse large state legislative body in its most diverse large state. Using computational text analysis, we find that, in the wake of a state prison overcrowding crisis, Latino representatives of majority-minority Assembly districts authored more and more progressive prison reform-related legislation than their white counterparts. These results have important implications for the scholarly understanding of descriptive representation, legislative agenda setting, and the politics of criminal justice reform.