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

Ban, Pamela, Justin Grimmer, Jaclyn Kaslovsky, and Emily West.  "How Does the Rising Number of Women in the U.S. Congress Change the Dynamics of Policy-making? Evidence from House Committee Hearings".  Under Review.

Ban, Pamela, Ju Yeon Park, and Hye Young You.  "How Are Politicians Informed? Witness Testimony and Information Provision in Congress."  Working Paper.

How are politicians informed and who provides information to politicians?  Congressional committee hearings have played a crucial role in how members of Congress acquire policy relevant information, make decisions, and coordinate with key stakeholders.  We examine the information flow between members of Congress and witnesses from external groups.  To do so, we construct a novel dataset that represents the most comprehensive data collection to date on congressional committee hearings and witness testimony across a 60 year time period spanning 1960-2018.  Across 82,850 hearings and 847,099 witnesses who testified in Congress, we investigate who members of Congress invite to provide information, the quantity and quality of information presented by these witnesses, and the implications of this information flow during the committee stage.  We demonstrate how the witnesses called to testify by members of Congress provide varying quantity and quality of information depending on the witnesses' affiliation type and gender.  Further, we show how the choices of members during the committee stage -- choices of which witnesses to bring to the committee, and choices of what information is questioned and requested of those witnesses -- has the capacity to influence the policy output of committees.

Ban, Pamela, Daniel J. Moskowitz, and James M. Snyder, Jr.  "Leadership Power in Congress, 1890-2014: Evidence from PAC Contributions and Newspaper Coverage."  Revise and Resubmit, Quarterly Journal of Political Science.

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.

 

Ban, Pamela and Rebecca Goldstein.  "Descriptive Representation and the Legislative Agenda: Evidence from California."  Working Paper.

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. 

Ban, Pamela, Shiro Kuriwaki, Daniel J. Moskowitz, and James M. Snyder, Jr.  "What Happens When War Crowds Out Domestic Politics? Newspaper Coverage and Electoral Outcomes."  Working Paper.

How does information provision about candidates and their qualifications affect voter decisions and electoral outcomes?  We consider multiple wartime periods during which war coverage crowded out coverage of domestic politics, particularly coverage of state and local politics, in newspapers. The variation in the level of coverage of domestic politics in newspapers during this time period allows us to investigate how the availability of information about candidates affects voter decisions and their ability to select qualified candidates in primary elections. In low-information contexts during wartime, voters have greater difficulty selecting candidates for down-ballot offices in open-seat races relative to high-information contexts before and after wartime. However, we do not observe an information effect in the case of primary elections for higher offices (i.e., U.S. House, U.S. Senate, governor) nor do we observe a decline in the size of the incumbency effect during wartime. The totality of these results suggests that it is more difficult for voters to find alternative sources of information on down-ballot candidates.

BOOK PROJECT:

Committee Style: Institutional Explanations of Polarization in Congress