Department of Political Science
University of Central Florida

4207 Andromeda Loop North
Howard Phillips Hall, Room 311A
Orlando, FL 32816-1356
Ph. 407-823-2608
Fax 407-823-0051
My Curriculum Vitae
barry.edwards @ ufc.edu
My Research Interests:

  • Elections and Legislative Behavior
  • The U.S. Presidency
  • Judicial Behavior, Law and Courts
  • Research Methods


Does the Presidency Moderate the President?

In this article, I test the conventional wisdom that the president sees, and therefore decides, issues differently than members of Congress do. According to this view, the presidency moderates a president's behavior by compelling him to represent the entire country. I test this thesis by examining the legislative behavior of twenty-three men who have represented both a narrow constituency in Congress and the entire country as president. My results indicate that the presidency effectively moderated the legislative behavior of legislators who became president for roughly one-and-a-half centuries. The modern presidency, however, not only fails to moderate presidents, the presidency now appears to amplify the partisan bent of those who occupy the office. Forthcoming in Presidential Studies Quarterly.
    Redistricting and Individual Contributions to Congressional Candidates

    In this paper, Michael Crespin and I use redistricting to examine the relationship between representatives and a unique group of the public: individual campaign contributors. Our primary objective is to determine what happens to the contribution behavior of representatives and donors after district boundaries shift and the geographic ties between members and donors are undone. We find that as the geographic constituency changes, members receive larger shares of contributions from outside their districts. Our findings suggest that representation can extend beyond a geographic constituency and speak to issues related to democratic accountability in a geographic based system of government. Forthcoming in Political Research Quarterly.
      Can Independent Redistricting Commissions Lead Us Out of the Political Thicket?

      In this article, Michael Crespin, Jessica Hayden, Tyler Yeargain, Anngel Sanchez and I evaluate whether independent redistricting commissions (IRCs) offer a viable solution to protracted disputes over partisan gerrymandering. Motivated by the Supreme Court's decision in Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, we consider both empirical evidence from political science as well as the legal outcomes of redistricting lawsuits. We find that IRCs, while imperfect, are a promising solution to partisan gerrymandering. Forthcoming in Albany Government Law Review.
        Inequality, Access to the Courts, and Judicial Integrity

        In this book chapter, Allison Trochessett, Tyler Yeargain, and I argue that mass inequality in capitalist nations, particularly the United States, poses a substantial threat to judicial integrity. We focus on three developments: the two-tiered civil justice system, judicial elections, and interest group participation in state supreme supreme court proceedings. Forthcoming in International Human Rights and Justice, Ed. Doug Hodgson, Nova Publishers. More information about this book.

          Alphabetically Ordered Ballots and the Composition of U.S. Legislatures

          In this article, I consider whether ballot ordering rules have shaped the American political landscape by changing who gets elected to state legislatures and Congress. Although the impact of ballot order has been analyzed in isolated elections, there has been little effort to assess the aggregate impact of these rules. I find that states that alphabetically order ballots are disproportionality represented by legislators with early-alphabet names at both the state and federal level. Published in State Politics & Policy Quarterly.
          Race, Ethnicity, and Alphabetically Ordered Ballots

          This article challenges the prevailing view that alphabetically ordering ballots is non-discriminatory by showing it disadvantages certain minority groups, especially Asian Americans. Published in Election Law Journal.
          Unfulfilled Promise: Laboratory Experiments in Public Management Research

          In this article, Derrick Anderson and I make the case for increased laboratory experimentation in public management research. We show that laboratory experiments have proffered important knowledge contributions to the field, especially in areas of decision-making and, increasingly, motivation. Because practical problems may pose a greater obstacle to laboratory experimentation in public management than epistemological issues, we address external validity and the cost of conducting laboratory experiments before concluding with suggestions for future research..
          Formulating Voting Rights Act Remedies to Address Current Conditions

          This article assesses the central holding of Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder which declared part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. My results support the Court's finding that the Act's historic coverage formula does not accurately reflect current political conditions, but challenges other Court decisions. I argue that different standards are needed for African American and Latino districts. Additionally, I argue that requiring majority districts inhibits equal opportunities for African American voters. Published in American Politics Research.
          Putting Hoover on the Map: Was the 31st President a Progressive?

          If any U.S. President is in need of a public image makeover, surely it is Herbert Hoover. A number of contemporary biographies claim Hoover was a Progressive Republican who deserves credit for the New Deal. I apply multi-dimensional scaling methods to Hoover's legislative decisions to compare him to his progressive colleagues in the House and Senate. This research demonstrates a method of historical research on presidents. I conclude that Hoover did not act like a Progressive president. Published in Congress & the Presidency.
          Renovating the Multi-Door Courthouse:
          Designing Trial Court Dispute Resolution Systems to Improve Results and Control Costs

          Budget crises may force states to reinvent their court systems. Central to this effort, I argue, is understanding when mediation works as a method of resolving disputes. Using an original dataset, I identify variables to predict which cases are likely to settle through mediation. Based on my empirical findings, I outline four specific suggestions for improving the results of court-connected dispute resolution systems. Published in Harvard Negotiation Law Review (Spring 2013).
          The Voting Behavior of President Obama's Appointees on the U.S. Courts of Appeals

          This article, written with Susan Haire and David Hughes, evaluates the degree to which President Obama and other recent presidents, operating under the threat of senate opposition to their nominees, influence judicial policy through their appointments. We argue that Obama's impact on the federal judiciary is likely to increase during his second term and identify which circuits are ripe for ideological change. Published in Judicature (Sept-Oct. 2013).

          Comprehensive Arbitration of Domestic Relations Cases in Georgia

          This article examined the use of arbitration to resolve domestic relations cases in Georgia. A revision to Georgia law effective in 2008 permitted, for the first time, private arbitrators to decide custody issues. I argue that the change in the law makes arbitration an effective method of resolving all issues in domestic relations cases. Published in the Georgia Bar Journal.

          Works in Development (updated 1/18/2016):

          Project Title:Status:
          Polarization of the U.S. PresidencyWorking paper
          Experimental Analysis of Deference to Lower Court Decisions (with Justin Stritch, Arizona State)Early writing, Complete dataset
          Latino Judges on the Circuit Courts of Appeals (with Susan Haire, David Hughes, and Phil Marcin, Akron)Working paper
          Measuring Effectiveness in State LegislaturesWorking paper
          Another Door at the Courthouse: Political Science Research on Alternative Dispute ResolutionWorking paper
          Decision Making of Senior Status Federal Judges (with Susan Haire, UGA)Working paper
          Public Values, Political Participation, and the Study of Public Administration (with Derrick Anderson, Arizona State)Minor revisions
          Adherence to Traditional Redistricting Principles by Legislatures, Courts, and Commissions (with Michael Crespin and Ryan Williamson)New project
          Spatial Models of Presidential Behavior (Book Length Dissertation)Defense completed
          Expanding Teaching Assistant Program to Cover Constitutional Law ICompleted
          Expanding Teaching Assistant Program to Cover Introduction to Research MethodsCompleted

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