Research Workshops

PRESS research workshops are intended as a forum to workshop research designs-in- progress
with the goal of receiving constructive feedback before data have been collected. Please keep
in mind the following guidelines when designing your presentation:

Spring Semester Dates

April 17, 4:30-6pm in Robertson 035, featuring Lucía Motolina-Carballo (PhD Candidate - Department of Politics, NYU and José María Rodríguez Valadez (PhD Candidate, Department of Politics, Princeton) / Mike Kistner and Noam Reich (PhD Candidates, Department of Politics, Princeton)


  • "Colorism and the latent race cleavage in Mexico: Evidence from a Twitter experiment."
  • Lucía Motolina-Carballo and José María Rodríguez Valadez
    • Race has been not considered a salient political cleavage in Mexico. One of the reasons for this is the nation building idea of mestizaje (intermingling of races) claimed that there is a Mexican race created by mestizos. However, we argue that voters have heterogenous race-based preferences that are rooted in a latent race identity, holding their party preferences and economic status constant. To test this argument, we seek to implement a Twitter experiment during the 2018 elections for Governor of Mexico City. The experiment focuses on randomized targeted ads, where the treatment corresponds to photographs of the candidates, in which the relative darkness/lightness of the candidate in the photograph was manipulated to accentuate racial cues.


  • "Uncovering Rent-Seeking Behavior: A Field Experiment on an Alternative Path to Access in State Legislatures"

  • Mike Kistner and Noam Reich

    • The study of legislative rent seeking in advanced democracies has focused primarily on the role of legal avenues of influence, such as lobbying and the provision of campaign contributions. In contrast, research on rent seeking in developing countries has highlighted the importance of material personal benefit to politicians in motivating governmental action. We propose a field experiment on the population of state legislators to determine if material self-interest can similarly be an avenue to access in the United States, and evaluate how effectively institutional design can mitigate this behavior. In our experiment, legislators are offered paid travel to a fictitious conference (similar to real world examples), with the desirability of the conference location experimentally manipulated. Using response rate as our dependent variable, we propose to assess whether the conditional average treatment effect differs on the basis of institutional features designed to curb rent seeking such as legislator compensation, gift disclosure requirements, and ethics laws. 


Previous Workshops

February 8, 4:30-6pm, featuring Jane Junn (University of Southern California) in 301 Julis Romo Rabinowitz (JRR) Building 

  • "Sexual Harassment and Candidate Evaluation: Group  Membership and Heterogeneous Effects." 
    • Jane Junn is Professor of Political Science and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of five books on political participation and public opinion in the United States. Her most recent book The Politics of Belonging: Race, Immigration, and Public Opinion (with Natalie Masuoka), was published in 2013 by the University of Chicago Press. Her first book, Education and Democratic Citizenship in America (with Norman Nie and Ken Stehlik-Barry, University of Chicago Press, 1996), won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation award from the American Political Science Association for the best book published in political science. She is also the author of Civic Education: What Makes Students Learn (with Richard G. Niemi, Yale University Press, 1998), New Race Politics: Understanding Minority and Immigrant Politics (edited with Kerry L. Haynie, Cambridge University Press, 2008), and Asian American Political Participation: Emerging Constituents and their Political Identities (with Janelle Wong, Karthick Ramakrishnan and Taeku Lee, Russell Sage Foundation, 2011). Her research articles on political behavior, public opinion, racial and ethnic politics, the politics of immigration, gender and politics, and political identity have appeared in journals including Perspectives on Politics, The DuBois Review, Politics & Gender, American Politics Research, and the American Behavioral Scientist. Jane has been Vice President of the American Political Science Association, a Fulbright Senior Scholar, and the recipient of an Outstanding Teacher Award from Columbia University Teachers College. She was a member of the Social Science Research Council National Research Commission on Elections and Voting and a member of the National Academy of Science Committee on the U.S. Naturalization Test Redesign. She was the director of the USC – Los Angeles Times Poll during the 2010 California election.She is currently at work on a new book on the “gender gap” and voting in the United States.


February 13, 4:30-6pm, featuring Andrew Proctor (PhD Candidate in American Politics)/Kenneth Lowande (CSDP) and Jayanti Owens (Visiting Researcher, Office of Population Research)

  • "Exclusionary Discipline: Racial/Ethnic and Color Disparities in How Educators Evaluate and Sanction Classroom Misbehavior," Jayanti Owens
    • School suspension and expulsion predict dropout, juvenile detention, incarceration, and recidivism. Suspension/expulsion impacts children’s development, contributing to cumulative disadvantages for students, families, and communities. Black students face more suspension/expulsion: 20% of Black boys are suspended, compared to 12% of Black girls, 9% of Latino/Hispanic boys, and 6% of White boys. Neither higher incidence of infraction nor lesser responsiveness to restorative discipline (tutoring or counseling) fully accounts for Black boys’ higher suspension/expulsion rates. Implicit bias offers a possible explanation: certain teachers might sanction Black boys more readily, and punitively, than White boys for identical, routine misbehavior. This compelling hypothesis has received scant empirical investigation. This project: 1) precisely estimates magnitudes of teacher bias in evaluations of identical misbehavior and in recommended sanctions, 2) disentangles the mechanisms of bias (how behavior is "read" and assigned meaning and how the same behavior is punished), and; 3) tests an intervention to reduce bias. I deploy a video vignette experiment that manipulates the race/ethnicity and skin color of students committing identical misbehavior. Teachers are randomly assigned to students and punitive or restorative school discipline environment. Teachers then view and rate videotaped misbehavior and report recommended sanction. This project quantifies teachers’ implicit bias; the social psychological mechanisms underlying disproportionate suspension/expulsion; and factors magnifying bias. Results will inform promising strategies for teacher training and administrative disciplinary decision-making.
  • "Bureaucratic Responsiveness and Local Governance," Kenneth Lowande and Andrew Proctor
    • In 2015, Kim Davis, a Democratic county clerk in Kentucky, refused to provide a marriage license to a same-sex couple. Although these events have faded from the news cycle, they raise a fundamental question about bureaucratic responsiveness to LGBT Americans: Do bureaucratic elites discriminate against LGBT Americans? To date, no studies have examined the interactions between "street-level" bureaucracies and LGBT people. Thus, we propose a national audit experiment that tests whether bureaucratic agents discriminate against LGBT Americans, and how information influences that discrimination. To measure LGB discrimination, we make requests for information about obtaining a marriage license varying the gender composition of the information requestors. To measure transgender discrimination, we make requests for information about obtaining a new birth certificate varying whether the request includes a change of gender. To determine whether information can reduce bias, we forward emails with relevant information about LGBT protections under the law. 

March 13, 4:30-5:45pm, featuring James Druckman (Northwestern University) in 397 Julis Romo Rabinowitz (JRR)

  • “How Incivility on Partisan Media (De-)Polarizes the Electorate.”​​
    • James N. Druckman is the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. He is also an Honorary Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University in Denmark. His research focuses on political preference formation and communication. His recent work examines how citizens make political, economic, and social decisions in various contexts (e.g., settings with multiple competing messages, online information, deliberation). He also researches the relationship between citizens' preferences and public policy, and how political elites make decisions under varying institutional conditions. Druckman has published roughly 100 articles and book chapters in political science, communication, economic, science, and psychology journals. He co-authored the book Who Governs? Presidents, Public Opinion, and Manipulation (University of Chicago Press) and co-edited the Cambridge Handbook of Experimental Political Science. He has served as editor of the journals Political Psychology and Public Opinion Quarterly as well as the University of Chicago Press's series in American Politics. He currently is the co-Principal Investigator of Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS). He also sits on numerous advisory boards, organizing committees, prize committees, and editorial boards. Druckman's work has been recognized with numerous awards including over 15 best paper/book awards; he also has received grant support from such entities as the National Science Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and Phi Beta Kappa. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. His teaching/advising has been recognized with the Outstanding Award for Freshman Advising, a Faculty Mentoring Award, and an Outstanding Faculty citation by Northwestern's Associated Student Government. Druckman obtained his BA from Northwestern, majoring in mathematical methods in the social sciences and political science. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

Presenter Guidelines

Before the Workshop

  • At least ten days before your presentation, please email the PRESS student coordinators a title and abstract describing your project. Please include the names and institutional affiliations of any co-authors who you’d like to include on the event advertisements.

  • Due to time limitations, you may find it helpful to circulate materials to attendees ahead of time, such as an elaboration of your theoretical approach or your draft survey instrument.
  • If you have a Mac computer, please bring your own adapter or let the PRESS student coordinators know several days in advance, if you need to borrow one.
  • Tell your colleagues, friends, advisors, professors, or anyone else whose feedback you’d like to receive that you are presenting. Though we will advertise your event, personal requests are often more effective!

At the Workshop

  • Workshops consist of presentations by two researchers. In order to ensure that both researchers receive constructive feedback, each researcher will be held to a strict 45-minute time limit (including presentation and discussion time).
  • After the first presenter’s time has elapsed, we will transition to the second presentation.
  • The first presenter will be notified after half her allotted time has passed and will be alerted when five minutes remain, at which point she should conclude her presentation.
  • The content of the presentation is largely at the behest of the presenter. Often, it is helpful to provide theoretical background/motivation for the project in addition to details of the experimental design. Feel free to direct the conversation to areas that you believe require the most feedback. Remember – 45 minutes goes by quickly!

After the Workshop

  • Incorporate the feedback you received, consider applying for a PRESS grant, and good luck with your experiment!