My research focuses questions of political representation, gender and sexuality politics, the social construction of groups, interest groups, public opinion, and policy diffusion. I bridge political behavior and institutions to explain public policy in the fifty states. As a scholar whose work incorporates multiple subfields within American politics, I take a multidisciplinary and intersectionalist approach to understanding policy.
In my dissertation work, I focused on the creation of abortion policy in the states. In particular, I focused on the puzzle of why state abortion has become increasingly conservative without an accompanying change in public support for legal abortion. I comprehensively examine the formation of state abortion policy in the different stages of policymaking, across policy types, and over time. Despite obvious differences across policies and policy stages, I find a common theme: legislators create abortion policy in strategic ways, at the margins of the policy making arena, and sometimes excluding the preferences of the mass public.
My research agenda extends to other issues of policy process, including policy feedback, policy diffusion and substantive work in gender and sexuality politics. I am currently working on projects that involve the criminalization of pregnancy, and the influence of conservative women on shaping gendered policy. My work has been published in journals such as Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly, as well as in edited book volumes.
I obtained a M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Iowa. I also hold a B.A. in Political Science and Chinese from Macalester College. I joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy in July 2015.
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