My research centers on questions of political representation and policy responsiveness within the U.S., especially as it pertains to marginalized populations.
Who is considered deserving of representation?
To what extent can advocates and interest groups speak for the marginalized?
How do we know when the interests of the marginalized are being accurately represented?
My dissertation addresses these questions by examining the role of interest groups in state welfare policy. I argue that welfare recipients, a group of citizens marginalized along class, gender, and racial lines, are not well represented by single representatives or political parties as a whole, due in part to lower political participation among the poor and biases towards the upper class. There are also few organizations comprised of welfare recipients advocating for themselves. In four empirical chapters, I establish four different frames through which welfare recipients are seen as “undeserving” of government assistance and examine how interest groups become involved in the welfare rules related to a specific frame.
For a more detailed statement on my research interests, please click here.