James Strickland Receives the 2020 William Anderson Award

The William Anderson Award is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to honor the best doctoral dissertation in the general field of federalism or intergovernmental relations, state and local politics. 

James Strickland is an Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies at Arizona State University.  He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 2019.  His research has appeared in American Journal of Political Science and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.  James’ research explores how legislative reforms and lobby laws affect lobbying and political influence.

Citation from the Award Committee:

A feature of interest group politics across democratic political systems, multi-client lobbying has received little research attention. “Multi-Client Lobbying in the American States” tackles the topic by bringing theoretical innovation and ambitious data collection from the U.S. states to understand why groups seek to hire lobbyists who advocate for multiple clients and the implications for interest representation.  The dissertation first develops a measure of multi-client lobbying and then examines how legislative institutions and lobbying laws contribute to this type of advocacy activity.  Strickland finds that these contextual conditions matter less than group-specific factors.  In particular, public interest groups seeking collective benefits (e.g., environmental protection, government ethics, criminal justice reform) are more likely to hire single-client advocates in order to maintain ongoing lobby presence in the legislature and internal credibility with members or other stakeholders.  Finally, the dissertation turns back to institutional conditions by examining the revolving door, showing that the value of hiring a former legislator to lobby lessens where member turnover is high, demonstrating an important caveat to our knowledge about the revolving door that has been based mostly on evidence from the U.S. Congress.

The dissertation presents an ideal case of comparative state analysis.  It treats states as intrinsically important venues for policy making activity that affects group interests while leveraging institutional and legal variation in theoretically informed ways that can transport to other levels and systems of government.

The committee congratulates Strickland on making a sophisticated contribution to interest group theory while addressing an aspect of practical politics that has implications for all areas of state-level public policy.

APSA thanks the committee members for their service: Dr. Megan Mullin (chair), Duke University; Tim Conlan, George Mason University; and Dr. Tracy Osborn, University of Iowa.