Carl Albert Dissertation Award

The Carl Albert Dissertation Award is given annually for the best dissertation in legislative studies. Topics may be national or subnational in focus — on Congress, parliaments, state legislatures, or other representative bodies. The prize is funded by the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma.  In addition to the cash prize associated with the award, winners are typically invited to guest lecture on the OU campus with travel expenses paid by the Carl Albert Center.

 Dissertations must have a copyright date of one or two years previous to the year in which the award is presented. Terms for submitting dissertation: (1) one copy sent to each member of the committee; (2) no more than one submission per Ph.D.-granting department; (3) letter form the department indicating the selection; and (4) a letter from the dissertation chair, or other appropriate committee member, describing the significance of the work. The deadline for submission is March 1, 2021.

2021 Selection Committee:

Lior Sheffer (Chair), Tel Aviv University
Sharece Thrower, Vanderbilt University
Danielle M. Thomsen, University of California Irvine

2020 Winner

Lior Sheffer, Tel Aviv University, for “Behavioural Foundations of Elite Politics: How Individual-Level Characteristics Shape the Decision Making of Elected Politicians” (University of Toronto 2019)

2020 Selection Committee:

Nara Park (Chair), Jeju National University
Daniel Magleby, Binghamton University
La Gina Gause, University of California San Diego

2019 Winner

Nara Park, The University of Chicago, for “The Nature of Japanese Governance: Seikai-Tensin (政界転身)’s Political Success in Postwar Japan, 1947-2014.” (The University of Chicago 2017).

Selection Committee:

Alison W. Craig, University of Texas at Austin
Melinda Ritchie, University of California, Riverside
Wendy J. Schiller, Brown University

2018 Winner

Alison W. Craig, University of Texas at Austin,  for “Crafting a Broad Appeal: Congressional Audiences and Policy Collaboration in the Modern Legislature.” (Ohio State University, 2017).

Selection Committee:

Michelle Whyman, Duke University
Anthony Madonna, University of Georgia
Jason Casellas, University of Houston

2017 Winner

Michelle Whyman of Duke University for, “The Roots of Legislative Durability: How Information, Deliberation, and Compromise Create Laws that Last” (University of Texas, 2016).

Selection committee:

Molly Reynolds, Brookings Institution
Tiffany Barnes, University of Kentucky
Jonathan Winburn, University of Mississippi.

2016 Winner

Molly E. Reynolds of the Brookings Institution for Exceptions to the Rule: Majoritarian Procedures and Majority Party Power in the U.S. Senate (University of Michigan, 2015).

Selection Committee:
Michael Barber, Brigham Young University
Jennifer Clark, University of Houston
Jason Windett, Saint Louis University

2015 Winner

Buying Representation: The Incentives, Ideology, and Influence of Campaign Contributions in American Politics, by Michael Barber, Princeton University, 2014

Selection Committee:
Eitan Tzelgov, University of Gothenburg
Yusaku Horiuchi, Dartmouth College
Leah Murray, Weber State University

2014 Winner

Words as Weapons: Opposition Rhetoric and Partisan Strategy, by Eitan Tzelgov, Pennsylvania State University, 2013

Honorable Mention:

Party, Preferences & Pragmatic Fidelity: Explaining Voting Unity in European Legislatures, by David Willumsen, European Univesity Institute – Florence, 2013

Selection Committee:
Nicholas Carnes, Duke University
Frank Thames, Texas Tech
Gisela Sin, University of Illinois

2013 Winner

By the Upper Class, For the Upper Class? Representational Inequality and Economic Policymaking in the United States, by Nicholas Carnes, Princeton University, 2011.

Selection Committee:
Georg Vanberg (chair), University of North Carolina
Kathleen Bratton, Louisiana State University
James Curry, University of Utah

2012 Winner

Information Control: Leadership Power in the U.S. House of Representatives, by James Curry, University of Maryland, 2011.

Selection Committee:
Chris Den Hartog (chair), California Polytechnic State University
Kathryn C. Lavelle, Case Western Reserve University
Amber Wichowsky, Marquette University

2011 Winner

The Competitive Cure: The Consequences of Competitive Congressional Elections, by Amber Wichowsky, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2010.

Selection Committee:
Alan Wiseman (chair), Vanderbilt University
Patrick Egan, New York University
Elizabeth Oldmixon, University of North Texas

2010 Winner

Issue Ownership and Representation in American Politics, by Patrick Egan, University of California, Berkeley, 2008.

Selection Committee:
Robin Kolodny (chair), Temple University
Tom Clark, Emory University
Andrew Taylor, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

2009 Winner

The Politics of Judicial Independence: Court Curbing and the Separation of Powers, by Tom Clark, Princeton University, 2008.

Selection Committee:
Christine Degregorio (chair), American University
Rob Salmond, University of Michigan
Sean Theriault, University of Texas, Austin

2008 Winner

Parliamentary Question Times: How Legislative Accountability Mechanisms Affect Citizens and Politics, by Rob Salmon, University of California, Los Angeles, 2007.

Selection Committee:
Kathryn Pearson (chair), University of Minnesota
Elizabeth Oldmixon, University of North Texas
Kim Quaile Hill, Texas A&M University

2007 Winner

No award given

2006 Winner

Party Discipline in the Contemporary Congress: Rewarding Loyalty in Theory and Practice, by Kathryn Pearson, University of California, Berkeley, 2005.

Selection Committee:
Gail McElroy (chair), Trinity College, Dublin
Robert Van Houweling, University of California, Berkeley
Scott Adler, Unviersity of Colorado, Boulder

2005 Winners

In Pursuit of Party Discipline: Committees and Cohesion in the European Parliament, by Gail McElroy, University of Rochester, 2004.


Legislators’ Personal Policy Preferences and Partisan Legislative Organization, by Robert Van Houweling, Harvard University, 2003

Selection Committee:
Christian Grose (chair), Lawrence University
Noelle Norton, University of San Diego
John R. Wright, Ohio State University

2004 Winner

Beyond the Vote: A Theory of Black Representation in Congress, by Christian Robert Grose, University of Rochester, 2003.

Selection Committee:
Bruce Oppenheimer, Vanderbilt University
Brian R. Sala, University of California, Davis
Christine DeGregorio

2003 Winner

No Award Given

2002 Winner

When Candidates Attack: The Effects of Negative Campaigning on Voter Turnout in Senate Elections, by Deborah Jordan Brooks, Yale University, 2001.

Selection Committee:
John B. Gilmour, College of William and Mary
Diana Evans, Trinity College
Thomas F. Remington, Emory University

2001 Winner

From the Year of the Woman to the Republican Ascendancy: Evaluating the Policy Impact of Women in Congress, by Michele Lynn Swers, Harvard University, 2000.

Selection Committee:
Jon Bond (chair), Texas A&M, College Station
Susan Hammond, American University
Gerald Gamm, Rochester University

2000 Winner

Explaining Institutional Change: The Rise and Impact of Omnibus Legislating, by Glen Krutz, Texas A & M University, 1999.

Selection Committee:
Linda Fowler (chair), Dartmouth University
Frances Lee, Case Western Reserve University
Paul Gronke, Duke University

1999 Winner

Shaping Perceptions of Congress through Franked Mass Mailings: An Examination of the Communication Strategies Used by members of the United States House of Representatives in the 1990s, by Daniel William Lipinski, Duke University, 1998.

Selection Committee:
Michael Mezey (chair), DePaul University
David Canon, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Gary Moncrief, Boise State University