' Bridging Spatial and Saliency Theory: Party Size and Issue Selection in Campaigns.' 2020. Political Science Research and Methods 8(3): 444-458.
I propose a unified explanation for parties' joint policy and emphasis decisions which bridges saliency theory and spatial analyses of party campaigns. Party platforms are anchored by the policy preferences of activists, core supporters and target voters, leading parties to disproportionately emphasize issues where their policies are popular with all key constituencies. However, which voters a party targets relates to its historical electoral performance (“party size”). Traditionally successful (“major”) parties emphasize issues where the policies preferred by activists and core supporters are generally popular, but smaller (“minor”) parties emphasize issues where their preferred policies may be unpopular but are distinctive. Using recent European data and various empirical strategies, I show that this account has significant explanatory power beyond existing party typologies and theories of issue selection.
 'The Revelation Incentive for Issue Engagement in Campaigns', with Matthew Knowles.
How do parties choose issues to emphasize in campaigns, and when does electoral competition force parties to address issues important to voters? Empirical studies have found that although parties focus disproportionately on favourable issues in campaigns, they also spend much of the ‘short campaign’ addressing the same issues – and especially if these are salient issues. We write a model of multiparty competition with endogenous issue salience, where, in equilibrium, parties behave in line with these patterns. In our model, parties’ issue emphases have two effects: influencing voter priorities, and also informing voters about their issue positions. Thus, parties trade off two incentives when choosing issues to emphasize: increasing the importance of favorable issues (‘the salience incentive’), and revealing their positions on salient issues to sympathetic voters (‘the revelation incentive’). The relative strength of these two incentives determines how far elections constrain parties to respond to voters’ initial issue priorities.
 'Democratizing from Within: British Elites and the Expansion of the Franchise', with Carles Boix, Sonia Giurumescu and Paulo Serodio.
Awarded the 2019 James B. Christoph prize for best conference paper presented by a junior faculty member in the British Politics Group section of the American Political Science Association.
We develop a theory of democratization that integrates both electoral calculations and economic incentives to explain the institutional choices of political actors. Left-leaning (liberal) politicians, who, given their location in the policy space, are more likely to receive the support of newly enfranchised voters, favor a broader franchise than conservative ones. Their preferences are conditional on the distributional effects of the franchise: when inequality is higher, policymakers are more reluctant to expand it because it is harder to reconcile the policy demands of existing and new voters. We evaluate this theory by estimating the franchise preferences of British MPs based on their votes on franchise-related parliamentary divisions between 1830 and 1918, and linking these preferences to their personal and constituency characteristics. Our results, which are consistent with our theory, show that declining inequality and the First World War were crucial factors in the democratization of Britain in this period.
 'How the Media Matters for the Economic Vote: Evidence from Britain.'
This study uses data from the 2005-10 British Election Panel Study to examine the effect of media coverage on voter evaluations of the incumbent government following the 2007-8 financial crisis. By combining sentiment analysis of newspaper content with an instrumental variables approach, I show that newspapers’ coverage of these events influenced how their readers, and especially Labour-supporting readers, evaluated the Labour government’s handling of the crisis and also the economy in general. I also show that newspaper framing of these events influenced readers’ propensity to support Labour throughout the subsequent general election campaign. Formal sensitivity analyses provide further evidence that these effects are not driven by readers’ previous assessments of the Labour party. I thus demonstrate that media framing of economic events, through its effects on reader evaluations of incumbents’ economic competence, can have durable electoral implications.
 'Communicative Power, Inequality and Representation.'
How can we evaluate political inequality and representation if voter preferences, priorities and beliefs are partly shaped by elite political communication? I argue that prevailing approaches to the study of political inequality and representation are incomplete if public opinion both influences and is influenced by elite behavior. I introduce a new measurable criterion for political inequality in such contexts: `communicative representation', or the degree to which speech by elite actors reflects, as well as responds to, the entire distribution of voter preferences. Low (high) communicative representation implies that elite actors with certain opinions have disproportionate (proportionate) presence and influence in public debate, and so disproportionate (proportionate) political power. I illustrate the value of this approach by analyzing communicative representation on immigration in the United Kingdom between 2015 and 2019, alongside the relative communicative power of various sub-electorates on this issue. I find that, in general, center left and right opinions on immigration are over-represented, and socially conservative sub-electorates (like Leavers, non-graduates, the white working class) under-represented, in legislative speech. However, we observe a significant redistribution of communicative power between groups after the 2016 EU referendum in Britain.