Jacob Grumbach — 2019 E.E. Schattschneider Award Recipient

The American Political Science Association (APSA) will present the E. E. Schattschneider Award to Dr. Jacob M. Grumbach at the 2019 APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition, the world’s largest gathering of political scientists and source for emerging scholarship in the discipline.  The $750 prize recognizes the best doctoral dissertation on American government.  Elmer Eric Schattschneider, for whom the prize is named, served as APSA’s President from 1956 to 1957.

Jacob M. Grumbach is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington.  He completed his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2018, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton.  He has previously published articles in Business & Politics, Election Law JournalLegislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, and public health journals.  His current research focuses on federalism, campaign finance, public policy, and the political economy of race.

Here is what the Award Committee had to say about their decision:

In Polarized Federalism, Jake Grumbach explores the politics of policymaking in the American states.  He shows that, since the 1970s, as congressional polarization soared, state-level policymaking has diverged across the states.  In a study of 135 policies across sixteen issue areas, Grumbach demonstrates, contrary to existing accounts, that partisan control of state legislatures increasingly has an outsize impact on policy outcomes across a range of issue areas.  Moreover, these policies matter for residents’ life-chances.  Rather than producing a wide diversity of subnational politics, however, Grumbach shows that national-level coalitions have helped direct state-level policymaking, and are more important than state-level public opinion in determining policy.  An analysis of campaign donations emanating from networks of activists points to the role of organized interests in bringing these coalitions to life.  The cumulative effect of Grumbach’s research is to suggest how we might knit together both national-level polarization and subnational policymaking, and points to how U. S. politics has collapsed into a “single arena of partisan combat over public policy.”

The committee found the dissertation methodologically sophisticated, analytically rich, well-written, and generally convincing.  Grumbach carefully and skillful deploys a diverse array of evidence in order to answer an urgent set of questions about American democracy.  The dissertation promises to enrich the subfield and is a worthy recipient of this year’s Schattschneider prize.

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