Capitol

Research


Publications

2016. "Polarization Reconsidered: Bipartisan Cooperation through Bill Cosponsorship." Polity 48 (April): 243-78.

2016. "Sensemaking in the Senate: A Congressional Fellow's Perspective of Life on the Hill."  PS: Political Science & Politics 49(2):380-2.

2016. "He Said, She Said: The Impact of Candidate Gender in Negative Campaigns," with Stephen C. Craig. Politics and Gender 12: 391-414.

2014. "Political Trust and Negative Campaigns: Two Tests of the Figure-Ground Hypothesis," with Stephen C. Craig. Politics and Policy 42(5): 693-743.

2014. "Attack and Response in Political Campaigns: An Experimental Study in Two Parts," with Stephen C. Craig and Marissa Grayson. Political Communication 31(4): 647-74.

Dissertation Abstract

Although the literature on congressional change has established that political parties in Congress have become increasingly polarized over time, this conclusion is limited to the study of voting behavior. The analysis of another legislative practice, bill cosponsorship, reveals that while the parties in the House have divided, those in the Senate have not. This suggests that (1) the extent of party polarization varies across stages of the legislative process and (2) there are important differences in the personal interactions of legislators in each chamber.

In the dissertation, I make several claims about cosponsorship networks and behavior in the House and Senate. First, I argue that the rigid structure of the House and the routinized behavior it encourages lead members to rely on party loyalty as a behavioral cue. As a result, House members tend to associate with more of their same-party colleagues at the expense of building relationships with their partisan opponents.

Meanwhile, the institutional structure and rules of the Senate force senators to interact and build relationships with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle more regularly than representatives must. As a result, the networks of senators are more diverse than those of representatives. Overall, the dissertation illustrates that using an alternative measure of party polarization produces results different from what the traditional literature suggests.

Selected Conference Papers

"More Than a Dime's Worth of Difference: Policy-Based Campaign Ads in an Age of Party Polarization." American Political Science Association (2016); with Stephen C. Craig and Michael D. Martinez.

"Collaboration Through Cosponsorship: Measuring Senate Friendships across Congressional History." Southern Political Science Association (2016).

"Partisan Ambivalence and Negative Campaigns: A Survey Experiment." American Political Science Association (2014); with Stephen C. Craig and Jason Gainous.

"Political Cynicism and Negative Campaigns: Does One Make the Other More Effective?" American Political Science Association (2012); with Stephen C. Craig.

"Polarization Reconsidered: A New Take on Congressional Change Over the Last 40 Years," Southern Political Science Association (2011).

"Talking Strategy: Agenda Manipulation and the Battle for Power in Congress," Southern Political Science Assocation (2010).

Paulina S. Cossette, Jacksonville University

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Paulina S. Cossette, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of
Political Science
Jacksonville University


Contact information:
2800 University Blvd. North
Jacksonville, FL 32211
email: pripper<at>ju<dot>edu