About

I am a PhD candidate in American politics at Columbia University. My principal research interest lies in legislative institutions and behavior. Whereas legislative rules and formal institutions are the subject of extensive study, legislators’ preferences are largely considered exogenous or beyond the scope of formal models of collective choice.

Preferences reflect a decision over policy choices, so I apply theories of decision-making from political psychology and behavioral economics to understand legislators’ preferences. My dissertation presents three field experiments, conducted in a legislature with the participation of legislators and staff, that examine the effects of information, cues, and cognitive effort on preferences. Legislators’ policy positions are highly susceptible to influence from outside factors, as their cosponsorship and roll call votes are substantially affected by the availability of information, cues, and deliberation.

Research outside my dissertation includes observational studies of Congressional responsiveness and elections as well as experimental studies of campaigns and media persuasion. I have conducted field experiments on the effects of mailers, telephone calls, newspapers, and radio advertisements on electoral behavior, political beliefs, campaign giving and public health outcomes.

For more information, please see my CV or research. Please feel free to contact me at apz2002 [at] columbia [dot] edu.