Kristina Miler — 2019 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award Recipient

The American Political Science Association (APSA) will present the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award to Dr. Kristina Miler at the 2019 APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition, the world’s largest gathering of political scientists and source for emerging scholarship in the discipline.  The $5,000 award, supported by Princeton University, recognizes the best book on government, politics, or international affairs.

Kris Miler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland.  She teaches courses in American government, legislative politics, interest group politics, and social movements.

Her research interests focus on political representation, especially in the U.S. Congress.  She is the author of Poor Representation: Congress and the Politics of Poverty in the United States (Cambridge University Press, 2018), which demonstrates that although the poor are widely visible in American politics, they are grossly underrepresented in Congress.  Her previous book, Constituency Representation in Congress: The View from Capitol Hill (Cambridge University Press, 2010), won the Alan Rosenthal Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book or article of potential value to legislative practitioners.  Her research also has appeared in the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Psychology, and American Politics Research.

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

Does representational democracy work for the 60 million people living in poverty or near poverty in the United States?  Is the U.S Congress paying attention to the poor?  In Poor Representation: Congress and the Politics of Poverty in the United States, Kristina C. Miler offers a groundbreaking analysis on the general lack of Congressional actions to address the interest of the poor in our representational democracy.  This book challenges the effectiveness of our representational democracy in practice and engages us in a critical reexamination of our normative and empirical understanding of representative governance.   The study meticulously differentiates interest-based from preference-driven politics and conducts an outstanding investigation across a broad range of legislative, representational actions beyond Congressional votes and policy outcomes.  Further, Miler synthesizes multiple theoretical perspectives on representation, including aggregate, dyadic, and surrogate, in addressing issues affecting the poor.  Finally, Miler’s findings call our attention to the challenge of representational democracy, including the lack of diversity of Congressional members and the polarization of poverty issues between the two major parties.   These theoretical, empirical, and policy contributions are path breaking and are highly relevant beyond the political system in the U.S.