RESEARCH

What are the political, social, and economic barriers to addressing the extreme inequality facing the United States today? When have public officials and communities successfully overcome these barriers? The following categories describe areas of my research that probe different aspects of these pressing questions. 

Image by Joey Csunyo

POLITICAL DYNAMICS OF POLICY FAILURE

One avenue for understanding persistent inequality is identifying when, how, and why actors learn that a policy is actually increasing inequality. My dissertation book project, When is Hindsight 20/20?, studies the conditions under which public officials are willing to recognize and respond to policy failure, particularly as it relates to social policies. The project explores the following questions:

  • In what ways does a states research capacity influence public officials' recognition of policy failure?

  • When and how does information about policy outcomes constrain public official position-taking?

  • When do cross-party coalitions form on behalf of reforming a failed policy?

This article, under revise and resubmit at State Politics and Policy Quarterly, argues that a state’s bureaucratic capacity to gather data—distinct from its analytical capacity—is necessary for public officials to acknowledge failure.

STATE CAPACITY FOR POLICY LEARNING & THE POWER OF DATA

Under what conditions do public officials invest in state institutions dedicated to policy research. In the age of big data, what structures must be in place for state bureaucrats, elected public officials, and the public to learn from and respond to information about policy outcomes? What features make data most likely to draw attention to systemic inequality?


My recent projects and working papers include:

  • "Re-opening by the Numbers: State crises and public health data"

  • “Measuring Policy Diffusion: An Examination of Teacher Evaluation Practices” working paper with NaLette Brodnax. 

Image by Jesse Collins
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EFFECTIVE PEDAGOGY AND INSTRUCTION IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

In addition to studying political drivers of inequality, I study strategies that can help create more equitable classrooms by examining effective instructional practices in the social sciences. I am particularly interested in documenting successful strategies for teaching reading and writing, which can pose substantial barriers to an equitable classroom experience. My recent projects and working papers include:

  • “Examining the Effect of Explicit Writing Instruction on the Quality of Student Writing.” with Colin Brown and George Soroka. Forthcoming at Journal of Political Science Education.

Image by Syd Wachs
 

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