Research

My research and teaching spans law, the social sciences and public policy, but I have a particular substantive interest in democratic institutions and governance.

Most projects I have worked on have been collaborative, and they have resulted in the publication of over thirty journal articles and book chapters to date.  More info can be found on my CV and my Google Scholar page.

Below I highlight a few of my larger current research projects. Feel free to contact me about any of the projects below.

Current Projects

∇ Extraterritorial Voting Rights and Restrictions

Over the past forty years, more than one hundred countries have adopted laws allowing non-resident citizens to vote from abroad, possibly the most under-appreciated global expansion of voting rights in recent times. With Nathan Allen and Beth Wellman, I have created of the Extraterritorial Rights and Restrictions Dataset, a global time-series dataset detailing this global change in voting rights. No existing data source simultaneously captures the scale (195 countries), time frame (1950 – 2020), and level of detail concerning extraterritorial voting rights and restrictions (over 20 variables). Incorporating this greater level of detailed knowledge concerning voting rights and restrictions greatly improves our understanding of the determinants and consequences of efforts at migrant political inclusion, and helps tell a much more nuanced story of the global diffusion of these rights than had been previously possible.

The first two articles from this project have been published in Comparative Political Studies and Comparative Migration Studies, and a third article manuscript is under review. The dataset is now publicly available, and you can find out more at the project website: www.evrrdataset.com.

∇ Communities of Interest in Redistricting

In the US, the release of the decennial census data kicks off a massive redistricting effort, and in more than half of US states, geographic ‘communities of interest’ must be considered in drawing district boundaries. In collaboration with James Syme, the Center for New Data’s ‘Inclusive Redistricting’ project, and a range of other community partners, this project focuses on leveraging big data to provide more systematic evidence of communities of interest and their geographic scope.

Pilot interactive tools for leveraging geographic mobility and demographic data to better understand Communities of Interest have been developed and a draft law review article analyzing how we can leverage big data to better understand Communities of Interest in redistricting has been drafted and will be presented at the Conference of Empirical Legal Studies in November 2022.

∇ Residential Solar Adoption in Los Angeles

This collaborative project, funded by UCLA’s Sustainable LA initiative, examines the determinants of residential solar panel adoption in Los Angeles, as a window into the legal and policy implications of the determinants of environmentally-conscious consumer decision-making. Policy-makers and researchers often focus on traditional utility maximization models of consumer decision-making, however our research shows that heterogeneity in consumer decision-making approaches, and their values and ties to community (above and beyond simple measures of environmental attitudes), can dramatically affect the adoption of residential solar. Our analyses draw empirical data from a detailed survey we designed and conducted of 3000 Los Angeles home owners, and leverages this data to develop agent-based models that demonstrate the relevance of assumptions about consumer choice on the efficacy of policy interventions in promoting solar energy.

The first article manuscript from this project, focusing on how place attachment affects residential solar adoption, has been published in Energy Policy. Two additional papers examining how heterogeneity in individual decision-making affects residential solar consideration and adoption are in progress.

∇ Precarious Values in Legal Education

What do American law schools truly value? This article draws on classic frameworks from organizational theory to better understand how legal education (fails to) reflect important values. Law schools’ practices can fail to protect important ‘precarious’ values when faced with various crises (both real and imagined), and in the face of changes in the external environment and pressures facing law schools. This article highlights the value of understanding how law schools manage precarious values in three distinct contexts: first, through a systematic analysis of how rankings metrics have affected law school admissions over time; second, an examination of how law schools’ adaption to the dramatic fall in law school applicants after 2010 depended crucially on institutional characteristics of the law school, and finally how law schools adapted to Covid-19. While organizations typically devote less effort to defending precarious values when faced with crises, understanding how precarious values become secure—and previously secure organizational values can become more precarious—is valuable not just for those who seek to understand legal education, but can provide important advice for those who seek to reform it.

The initial presentation of this project was at the 9th International Legal Ethics Conference (ILEC 2022) in August 2022.