Research

Publications

Crowder-Meyer, Melody and Adrienne R. Smith. 2015. "How the Strategic Context Affects Women’s Emergence and Success in Local Legislative Elections.Politics, Groups, and Identities 3:2, pgs. 295-317. (alternate link)

Crowder-Meyer, Melody, Shana Kushner Gadarian, and Jessica Trounstine. 2015."Electoral Institutions, Gender Stereotypes, and Women's Local Representation.Politics, Groups, and Identities 3:2, pgs. 318-334. (alternate link)

Crowder-Meyer, Melody and Benjamin E. Lauderdale. 2014. "A Partisan Gap in the Supply of Female Potential Candidates in the United States.Research & Politics, 1:1 (April 2014).

Crowder-Meyer, Melody and Benjamin E. Lauderdale. 2014. "Why the Republican Party doesn't have more female candidatesThe Washington Post, Monkey Cage, Sept. 29, 2014.

Crowder-Meyer, Melody. 2013. "Gendered Recruitment without Trying: How Local Party Recruiters Affect Women's Representation.Politics & Gender, 9:4 (December) pgs. 390-413.

Crowder-Meyer, Melody. 2010. "The Party's Still Going: County Party Strength, Activity, and Influence." Ch. 7, pgs. 115-134, in The State of the Parties, 6th edition, edited by John Green and Daniel Coffey.

 

Work in Progress

“A Different Kind of Disadvantage: Candidate Race, Electoral Institutions, and Voter Choice” (with Shana Gadarian, Jessica Trounstine, and Kau Vue)

Abstract:  Research examining the relationship between electoral institutions and descriptive representation proposes that district elections increase the representation of racial minorities due to geographic segregation and polarized voting by race. This paper uses three experiments to test a different mechanism – cognitive complexity.  We find that voters casting ballots in cognitively simpler district elections are more likely to support black candidates than voters faced with more complicated at-large contests. When voters’ cognitive resources are taxed – by complex at-large elections or other cognitive load treatments – they are less able to overcome negative racial stereotypes and choose a candidate of color. However, when cognitive load is lower or substantive information about candidates is easily accessible, voters are less likely to rely on simple cues like racial stereotypes when choosing between candidates.

“Can’t Buy Them Love: How Party Culture among Donors Contributes to the Party Gap in Women’s Representation” (with Rosalyn Cooperman)

Abstract: Do the Democratic and Republican parties have different cultures? In this paper we use an original survey of donors to party committees and women’s PACs to examine the beliefs of this set of party elites. We find that a group-interest culture still reigns among Democrats while Republicans prioritize party loyalty. We then test whether this distinction in party culture can explain women’s substantially poorer representation among Republican than Democratic officeholders. We find that Democratic elites’ political activity and financial contributions are significantly more motivated by group concerns – and specifically the concerns of those demanding greater female representation – than are Republicans. We also show that women’s representation policy demanders like EMILY’s List and Susan B. Anthony List are far more integrated into the Democratic than Republican party networks. Thus we reveal both the continued existence of distinct party cultures and also the consequences of this distinction for women’s representation.

“Party Leaders Encourage Polarized Nominees: New Evidence on the Underpinnings of Asymmetric Polarization” (with David Broockman, Nick Carnes, and Chris Skovron)

Abstract: Why are American politicians so polarized, and why are Republican politicians particularly polarized? Many theories argue that party elites—party leaders, elected officials, and other influential figures—play an important role by encouraging extremist candidates to run for office and “gatekeeping” moderates. But although the power of party elites to recruit and screen candidates is well-documented, their preference for extreme candidates over moderates in this process is not. In this article, we assess this preference using an original survey of over 1,100 county party leaders and a parallel survey of voters. In both open-ended questions and conjoint experiments, party leaders—especially Republicans—strongly prefer extreme candidates over moderates. Voters do not. These findings constitute the most direct evidence to date implicating party elites as a force contributing to polarization. Elites prefer for their parties to nominate extremists, leaving most voters with choices more polarized than they would prefer.

“The Effects of Community Income Inequality on Political Participation” (with James Szewczyk, Sewanee ‘15)

Abstract: Income inequality is on the rise in America, yet we know little about how economic inequality shapes political engagement. In this paper, we use the restricted data file from the 2012 American National Election Study and U.S. Census data to examine the effects of income inequality at the community level on individual and social forms of political participation. We theorize that inequality will have different effects on these two types of participation and that these effects will be conditioned by individual-level socioeconomic status. We find that for higher socioeconomic status individuals, greater income inequality increases both individual and social forms of participation, while increases in income inequality diminish social participation among those with low socioeconomic status. Our study indicates that rising levels of income inequality will perpetuate the participatory gap between high and low socioeconomic status individuals and lead to policies that further benefit higher status Americans over those with fewer resources.

 Political Elites, Candidate Emergence, and American Women’s Representation.

This book project analyzes data from seven original surveys of candidates, party leaders, campaign donors, and the mass public in order to examine how the preferences and actions of these groups affect women’s representation in American government.