Anna Gunderson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Louisiana State University

Year of PhD: 2019

Country: United States (Louisiana)

About Me:

My name is Anna Gunderson and I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University. In 2019, I received my Ph.D. in political science from Emory University. I study American Politics and specifically the politics of punishment and mass incarceration. My interests include criminal justice policy, state politics, the politics of race, and public policy. My work has appeared or is forthcoming in the â€‹Journal of Politics.

My book project considers the institutional factors contributing to American states' decisions to adopt private prisons. I find none of the expected predictors of this policy contribute to the likelihood a state adopts it. Rather, I argue prisoners' rights litigation conditioned states' response to prison overcrowding, thus resulting in the unintended consequence of private prison adoption. I utilize an original dataset of private prisons from 1986 to 2016 along with techniques, like instrumental variables analysis and qualitative methods, to probe this question. I have won three prizes for this work: the 2020 Neal Tate award for the best paper on judicial politics presented at the 2019 Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting; the 2019 Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Prize from the Public Choice Society; and the 2019 Best Graduate Student Paper from the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting.

In addition to my book project, I have projects on state corrections spending, police militarization, officer-involved shootings, and ban the box initiatives.

I graduated from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University in 2013 with two bachelor's degrees, one in journalism and one in political science, along with a certificate in international studies.

You can contact me via my LSU email, agunderson [at] 

Research Interests

Crime Politics

State and Local Politics

Judicial Politics

Countries of Interest

United States