Will Hicks successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation, Representation in the American States: Partisan Competition and its Conflicting Effects on Representative Government, on March 14, 2014. Will’s doctoral committee is comprised of Larry Dodd and Dan Smith (co-chairs), Michael Martinez, Beth Rosenson, and Larry Kenny (Economics).
His dissertation, “Representation in the American States: Partisan Competition and Its Conflicting Effects on Representative Government,” asks: what is partisan competition, and how does it influence the strategic incentives and capacity of representative government? In addition to describing the causes of partisan competition, he explores its effects theoretically and empirically on interest groups’ use of ballot initiatives, legislative efficiency, and policy representation (i.e., the effect of public opinion on policy outcomes). With recourse to multilevel modeling techniques, he evaluates these ideas by comparing the experience of the American states from 1976-2010.