Research

Published Work

Scott, J. S., & Brown, N. E. (2016). Scholarship on #BlackLivesMatter and its implications on local electoral politics. Politics, Groups, and Identities, 4(4), 702-708. [Link]

Dissertation

In my dissertation, I examine the relationship between political training programs1 and representational outcomes. Specifically, I am interested in addressing the role that training programs play in fostering political ambition, particularly for women and minorities, and how completing a training program influences electoral chances of participants. I situate this work in the candidate emergence literature and the literature about participation as these programs have assumed, but largely untested, benefits for individuals with political ambition.

Working Papers

Political Behavior

“The Racialization of American Electoral Politics, 1988-2016”, with Adam Enders

The presidency of Barack Obama was especially poignant because of the ways in which race and racialized language was evoked in politics. However, this is not a new phenomena. Race has long been used as a basis for opinion formation and expression in politics. Although the Obama presidency is indeed unique, my coauthor and I examine how race, in particular racial resentment, has shaped American public opinion over time. We demonstrate that racial resentment has indeed played a role in political attitudes and vote choice long before the debut of Barack Obama. This suggests that politics has long been racialized and the impact of Obama’s presidency is a symptom and not a cause of our current political environment.

“Black Women Mayoral Candidates in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter”, Nadia Brown

Black women serve as a major voting bloc in the United States and also represent the majority of minority women officeholders. Despite all of this, there is still much to be learned about Black women as political candidates and how they are perceived. In this project, my coauthor and I take advantage of the unique opportunity to examine an electoral race which includes two Black women as frontrunners for the mayoral seat. We utilize original data collected from Twitter, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to understand how these two Black women candidates are defined by the public in a very racialized political environment (Baltimore City, post death of Freddie Gray). Our findings suggest that Black women candidates may not face the same trait based stereotypes as their white female counterparts when running for office.

Political Representation

“State Level Responses to Distressed Cities: Does Race Matter?”, with Erika Rosebrook and Joshua Sapotichne

Within the state of Michigan, the cities of Flint and Detroit represent two examples of state level intervention in city governance. What is most interesting here is that both these cities were led by a Black city executive. While the debate on the use of fiscal intervention and the equity of its use in local affairs has largely played out in Michigan. Michigan is just one state with a fiscal intervention policy. In this paper, my coauthors and I examine the prevalence of state intervention in cities and its relationship with Black city level leadership. We find that cities with a Black mayor are more likely to face state level intervention. Given the issues that often arise in American cities and the fact that Black officeholders are more likely to emerge at the local and state level, this brings into question the effectiveness of Black city level executives, especially when states opt to intervene in local level affairs.

“State Support for Women in Politics and its Impact on Female Candidate Emergence”, with Corwin Smidt 

One of the major findings in the gender politics literature is that women are just as likely to win electoral races as men. Despite this finding, women are still severely underrepresented at all levels of political office. In this paper, my coauthor and I focus on when and where women are more likely to emerge as major party nominees for state level office. As suggested in previous work, women candidates make a calculated decision to run for office and parties also make a deliberate decision on the candidates they choose to support. We contend that both of those choices are a response to public opinion about female nominees. We use negative gender based stereotypes about women’s ability to serve as officeholders to create a state level public opinion measure. We find that state level public opinion predicts the likelihood that a woman will be a nominee for a statewide office over other factors. This suggests that women’s representation in state level office is contingent upon state level acceptance of women as officeholders.