Publications

Ban, Pamela, Ju Yeon Park, and Hye Young You.  "How Are Politicians Informed? Witnesses and Information Provision in Congress."  Forthcoming, American Political Science Review.

Ban, Pamela, Justin Grimmer, Jaclyn Kaslovsky, and Emily West.  2022. "How Does the Rising Number of Women in the U.S. Congress Change Deliberation? Evidence from House Committee Hearings."  Quarterly Journal of Political Science 17(3) (forthcoming). 

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

"Some Politics is Local: Local Orientation in the U.S. Congress" (with Jaclyn Kaslovsky).  Under Review.

 

What drives legislators to emphasize local issues in a nationalized setting? Although the representation literature has highlighted incentives that may lead legislators to present themselves as district- or nationally-oriented towards constituents, research remains limited on which legislators choose to emphasize local issues within the halls of Congress. We leverage congressional speech to provide evidence on how electoral competitiveness, district demographics, and legislator characteristics influence a member’s representational style during the committee stage, a critical step in policy-making. Using all available hearing transcripts from 1999–2018, we measure the degree of local orientation each member exhibits and examine what types of legislators are more likely to choose a local focus. We also investigate what leads legislators to emphasize their constituents as a justification for arguments. Results reveal heterogeneous effects by party: among Republicans, electoral factors play a role, while among Democrats, women legislators are significantly more likely to demonstrate a local orientation.

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

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.

 

"Interest Groups and Information Provision in Judicial Politics" (with Jennifer Gaudette).

Interest group participation and resource provision have long been the focus of research in legislative and executive politics, yet this form of lobbying has received relatively less attention in the judicial arena. Interest groups play several integral roles in judicial politics, one of which is as amici curiae. Groups file amicus briefs to provide courts with information in an effort to lobby judges on their policy positions. Scholars have documented why interest groups file amicus briefs and have sought to determine the influence of these filings, but the actual content of the amicus briefs represents an understudied yet important element in judicial politics. Amicus briefs are the key form of information transmission from interest groups to courts during judicial decision-making. We introduce a text-as-data approach, enabling us to study the types and quality of information provided by outside groups to the courts. Using a newly collected dataset of the text of amicus briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate courts, we measure the level of analytical information and the amount of social scientific research contained in each amicus brief. In doing so, we show the types of information provided to the courts and how this varies by the type of filing group, issue area, and stage of litigation. Our empirical results provide evidence supporting a theory of how incentives underlying interest group participation in judicial politics shape the provision and use of information in judicial decision-making.

"Bureaucrats in Congress: Information Sharing in Policymaking" (with Ju Yeon Park and Hye Young You).

There exists a canonical power balance in policymaking between Congress and the bureaucracy.  The amount and quality of information about the costs and consequences of policy implementation has been theorized to be an important factor in determining who has more of a policymaking advantage on any given piece of legislation: Congress or the bureaucracy.  Given the critical role that information plays, how do bureaucrats and Congress control the information flow between them?  Bureaucrat testimony in committee hearings is a frequent, important way through which Congress conducts oversight and acquires policy-relevant information.  We use committee hearing transcripts to analyze information sharing between Congress and the bureaucracy across all U.S. House and Senate committees from 1997 to 2020.  Using our new measurement of analytical testimony that bureaucrats provide to congressional committees, we examine who from the bureaucracy testifies in committee hearings and how much information is provided to Congress, and the quality of information provided.  We demonstrate that there are three factors that affect the information flow: the types of hearings, the preference alignment between Congress and the bureaucracy, and the amount of uncertainty regarding the cost or consequences of a legislation’s implementation. These factors work to influence both the amount of information that Congress requests from bureaucrats and the quality of information that bureaucrats choose to provide.

"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.