Ph.D. Candidate
Department of Political Science
Columbia University
jls2316@columbia.edu

  • Latest curriculum vitae: [CV].
  • Student resources for Introduction to Text as Data (2018): [Course Resources]

Politics and Data Science

My research generates novel insights about the interplay between data science and politics, and leverages these insights to address critical functions of representative government. The subject matter is part of the emerging field of computational social science, which combines data science and political science to conduct research at scale.

There are two pillars of my research. First, I experiment with and demonstrate how researchers in the social sciences may use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to make substantive inferences. Second, I apply these techniques (and other methodologies) to ask and answer questions at the core of modern political behavior.

My goal is to make the methods and software developed in the course of my research beneficial to as broad of an audience as possible. My recently published open-source computer vision software has seen incredible adoption by researchers developing text corpora (it has been forked and starred more than 99.9% of projects on GitHub). I also help Mentor Collective, an edtech startup in Boston, manage randomized controlled trials studying the effect of educational interventions on student success.


Recent Publications

Working Papers

  • “On the Comparison of Political Texts.” 2018.
  • “Communication at Scale in Elections, and the Importance of Costly Signaling to Voter Mobilization” with Donald P. Green. 2018.
  • “Have State Policy Agendas Become More Nationalized?” with Daniel M. Butler. 2018.
  • “Mansplaining the Law: The Effect of Gender on Interruptions in Congressional Testimony,” with Michael Miller. 2018. [Link]
  • “Are Governors More Likely to Keep Their Promises Under Unified Government? Agenda Speech and Legislative Outcomes.” 2017.

Current Projects and Datasets

  • State of the State Addresses, 1880–Present (SOTS), with Daniel M. Butler. In development, 2015–Present. Gubernatorial State of the State addresses, like small State of the Union addresses for each U.S. state, are demonstrative of the policy goals of the Governor and her party. NSF Honorable Mention.