Professor Lowande's article “Bureaucratic Responsiveness to LGBT Americans” (coauthored with Andrew Proctor) won the Kenneth J. Meier Award for best paper in bureaucratic politics, public administration, or public policy. Lowande's article “Descriptive and Substantive Representation in Congress: Evidence from 80,000 Congressional Inquiries” (coauthored with Melinda Ritchie and Erinn Lauterbach) is co-recipient of the award for best paper published in the American Journal of Political Science in 2019.
“Bureaucratic Responsiveness to LGBT Americans” (coauthored with Andrew Proctor)
Marriage rights were extended to same‐sex couples in the United States in 2015. However, anecdotes of bureaucratic noncompliance (in the form of bias or denial of license issuance) raise the possibility that de jure marriage equality has not led to equality in practice. We investigate this by conducting a nationwide audit experiment of local‐level marriage license–granting officials in the United States. These officials vary in the constituencies they serve, as well as how they are selected, allowing us to evaluate long‐standing hypotheses about bureaucratic responsiveness. Overall, we find no evidence of systematic discrimination against same‐sex couples—regardless of responsiveness measure, institutions, ideology, or prior state legal history. We find, however, that among same‐sex couples, officials tended to be more responsive to lesbian couples. In contrast to evidence in other areas of service provision, such as policing and federal assistance programs, we find bureaucrats tasked with provision of marriage services show little evidence of discrimination.
“Descriptive and Substantive Representation in Congress: Evidence from 80,000 Congressional Inquiries” (coauthored with Melinda Ritchie and Erinn Lauterbach)
A vast literature debates the efficacy of descriptive representation in legislatures. Though studies argue it influences how communities are represented through constituency service, they are limited since legislators' service activities are unobserved. Using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we collected 88,000 records of communication between members of the U.S. Congress and federal agencies during the 108th–113th Congresses. These legislative interventions allow us to examine members' “follow‐through” with policy implementation. We find that women, racial/ethnic minorities, and veterans are more likely to work on behalf of constituents with whom they share identities. Including veterans offers leverage in understanding the role of political cleavages and shared experiences. Our findings suggest that shared experiences operate as a critical mechanism for representation, that a lack of political consensus is not necessary for substantive representation, and that the causal relationships identified by experimental work have observable implications in the daily work of Congress.