Scholars convene on methods and trends in subnational policy making research

“The study of state and local politics has taken off over the last decade. Data, methods, and research interests have evolved. There are a variety of important questions that can’t be examined well at the Federal level, because of severe case limitations.  But scholars can get leverage on these questions thanks to the sizable and interesting variation that exists at the state and local levels,” said Jeff Jenkins as he brought together scholars from across the nation to examine the study of subnational policy making.

The Eternal Struggle for Power on Capitol Hill

Power is up for grabs in Washington. A controversial President, an unpopular Congress, and a midterm election all make 2018 a battleground for political control.

This is story of the most consequential game ever played, and it’s told by one of the leading Congressional experts of our time. In this episode, Jeffery A. Jenkins teaches us the strategy of legislative power: who has it, how they get it, what they do with it, and why you should care.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

Bedrosian Director presenting at the 2018 Congress & History Conference, Princeton

Jeffery Jenkins, Bedrosian Center Director, and co-author Thomas Gray will be presenting a paper at the 2018 Congress & History Conference at Prinecton University on June 7-8, 2018. The paper is titled “A Bridge Too Far?: Examining Bridging Assumptions in Common-Space Estimations.” It will be presented as part of a three paper panel on “Methodological…

The Myth of Independence

Congressional historian Sarah Binder joins neighbor and investment manager, Matt Spindel in a look at the history of the relationship between the Federal Reserve and its legislative parent, Congress. The result is the Princeton University Press book The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Myth of Independence, click the arrow in the player on this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle PlayStitcher or your favorite podcasting app!

Who Has the Ear of Your Legislators and Why They Can’t Seem to Get Anything Done

We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do they disappoint us so often? Are they really ignoring our needs and demands, or are we misunderstanding the challenges they face?

In this episode, Sarah Anderson shows that it’s a little of both: politicians don’t listen to all constituents equally, but they also can’t just snap their fingers and fulfill our wishes.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

Who Do Politicians Really Represent & Do We Notice?

With Donald Trump’s approval ratings at record lows, it’s worth asking how much this one number matters…and whether the people who approve really are better represented by him than the people who don’t. If our politicians really do represent some Americans better than others, it calls into question the very foundational ideals of our representative democracy.

In this episode, Brian Newman uncovers who’s represented, who’s not, and how it affects their view of government.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

New paper: Distributive politics and congressional voting: public lands reform in the Jacksonian era

New paper published: “Distributive politics and congressional voting: public lands reform in the Jacksonian era” by Sean Gailmard, Jeffery A. Jenkins

During the 1830s, Congress passed a series of laws reforming U.S. policy on acquiring public lands. These laws established a federal land policy of preemption, under which squatters on public land obtained legal title to it in exchange for payment of a minimum (and low) price per acre. Preemption significantly liberalized the terms of land ownership in the U.S. We analyze roll call voting on the preemption acts in Congress from a distributive politics perspective …

Why the Federal Reserve Is More Politically Constrained Than You Think

We’ve been having a mistaken debate, or so it would seem based on the new book The Myth of Independence. The Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank and most influential economic regulator, isn’t as independent as critics like Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders suggest. Congress created it, and Congress continues to shape it to the people’s will. This new perspective might just change your expectations about Fed policy and your appreciation for their delicate strategic work. This episode features Sarah Binder, professor of political science at George Washington University and a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or  download it and subscribe through ApplePodcastsSoundcloudGoogle Play,  Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

‘Parties & Partisanship in the Age of Trump’ symposium gathers scholars nationwide at USC Bedrosian Center

According to Bedrosian Center Director Jeffery Jenkins, “there are few issues more important today than partisanship. We live in a world today where partisan divisions run so deep that some of the most basic things we expect from government aren’t being done.  People inside and outside of Congress are more interested in skewering the other side rather than work together or find common ground.”

Parties & Partisanship in the Age of Trump Symposium

Partisan polarization has steadily increased in recent years. Democrats and Republicans in Congress have become two ideologically divided groups, with little ability to work together to solve the nation’s problems. And, citizens have increasingly used partisanship to guide their voting decisions, even as they diverge more and more on answers to the important questions of the day.

As we moved into the second year of Trump’s administration, we explored what partisanship looks like in Congress and the nation.