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Distributed July 15, 2004
Contact Kristen Cole

Sources for Election 2004
Brown’s political scientists study the issues and process of Election 2004

Brown University’s political scientists are studying the issues, the media, the money and the political process at the state and national levels during this election year. Faculty experts are available for interview on a wide variety of topics and research areas.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As the nation prepares for Election 2004, Brown University political scientists and public policy experts are studying the issues, the media, the money and the political process at the state and national levels. Faculty within the Department of Political Science and A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy are available for interview through Kristen Cole at (401) 863-2476:


Darrell M. West regularly takes the pulse of Rhode Island voters on the candidates and issues. West is an expert on American politics, mass media, elections, and e-government. He has written more than 13 books, including Air Wars; Television Advertising in Election Campaigns, 1952-2000; The Rise and Fall of the Media Establishment; Patrick Kennedy: The Rise of Power; and Celebrity Politics. West is the John Hazen White Sr. Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and director of the Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions.

Women in politics

Jennifer Lawless can explain why women remain under-represented in U.S. political institutions despite the fact they perform as well as men at the polls. In the first national sample of potential candidates, Lawless found well-qualified women were less likely than their male counterparts to consider running for public office because women do not perceive themselves as qualified and do not receive as much encouragement as men. Lawless is assistant professor of political science.


Wendy Schiller’s research focuses on the U.S. Senate and the political influence of interest groups. Schiller recently co-authored The Contemporary Congress and Partners and Rivals: Representation in the U.S. Senate Delegations. She has explored the factors important to senators’ approval ratings. In the most comprehensive study of its kind, she and two co-authors examined eight factors related to approval ratings over a 17-year period. Schiller is an associate professor of political science and public policy.

Special interest groups

Roger Cobb studies tactics used by political groups and decision-makers to keep issues off the agenda and how political symbols influence the process of political conflict. Cobb recently examined the impact of high-visibility plane crashes on airline transportation policy in a book, The Plane Truth. He also co-authored Participation in American Politics: The Dynamics of Agenda-Building and The Political Uses of Symbols. Cobb is professor of political science.

Election economics

Brian Knight recently documented the effect of campaign politics on the economy during the race for the White House. His study, published as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research in March, looked at 70 politically sensitive firms within five key sectors of the economy. It is one of the first studies to document the effect of campaign politics on the economy during the months leading to a presidential election. Knight is an assistant professor of economics and public policy.

Capital Punishment and Civil Liberties

Corey Brettschneider researches the philosophical foundations of the death penalty. His areas of expertise include modern political theory, ethics and public policy, theories of rights, civil liberties, American constitutional interpretation, and the philosophy of law. Brettschneider recently wrote an op-ed titled “Should presidents lie,” which begged the question: Would it have been wrong for the administration to lie in order to promote the more basic goal of preserving national interests? Brettschneider is an assistant professor of political science.

Welfare Reform

Scott Allard researches American social welfare policy and access to labor market opportunities. He recently published a study about a barrier to welfare recipients’ use of services that would improve their chances of getting off welfare. Welfare recipients with easy access to mental health and substance abuse providers were 30 percent more likely to use the services than those who resided further away from the providers. Allard began studying the nation’s welfare system as historic welfare reform was taking place at the national level. He is an assistant professor of political science and public policy.


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