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Erinn Lauterbach, Ph.D. Candidate

University of California, Riverside

Address: 900 University Ave

City: Riverside, California - 92521

Country: United States

About Me:

I am a PhD Candidate in Political Science- American Politics at the University of California, Riverside. I am interested in American Political Institutions (with a focus on Congress and the Bureaucracy), legislative studies, elite behavior, and gender politics. I also have experience working on various political campaigns (from state to congressional races) and in government. In 2007 I interned for a member of Parliament in London and from 2010-2012 I worked in the personal office of a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C., the last position I held was Legislative Aide. 

Research Interests

Legislative Politics

Text as Data

Gender and Politics



Political Elites

Elite Behaviour

U.S. House

Descriptive Representation

Substantive Representation

My Research:

My dissertation focuses on the content of legislation and how members of the U.S. House of Representatives can write bills in a way that that achieves their policy goals. Additional current and past research projects also include: studying representation through a variety of mechanisms including MC interaction with bureaucratic agencies, MC and constituent communication, and state legislator behavior. In the area of mass political behavior, I have working papers on campaign strategy and public reaction to political messaging and mass perceptions about class and redistribution.  


Journal Articles:

(2019) Descriptive and Substantive Representation in Congress: Evidence from 80,000 Congressional Inquiries, American Journal of Political Science

This is co-authored work with Kenneth Lowande and Melinda Ritchie A vast literature debates the efficacy of descriptive representation in legislatures. Though studies argue it influences how communities are represented through constituency service, they are limited since legislators' service activities are unobserved. Using Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, we collected 88,000 records of communication between members of the U.S. Congress and federal agencies during the 108th–113th Congresses. These legislative interventions allow us to examine members' “follow‐through” with policy implementation. We find that women, racial/ethnic minorities, and veterans are more likely to work on behalf of constituents with whom they share identities. Including veterans offers leverage in understanding the role of political cleavages and shared experiences. Our findings suggest that shared experiences operate as a critical mechanism for representation, that a lack of political consensus is not necessary for substantive representation, and that the causal relationships identified by experimental work have observable implications in the daily work of Congress.

(2018) Who Sees an Hourglass? Assessing citizens’ perception of local economic inequality, Research & Politics

This paper is co-authored with Benjamin Newman and Sono Shah The scholarly literature is observing a slow but steady growth in research exploring the effects of subnational economic inequality on political attitudes and behavior. Germane to this work is the assumption that citizens are aware of the level of inequality in their local residential context. At present, however, the evidence in support of this assumption is mixed. This article attempts to offer the literature improved tests of citizens’ awareness of local inequality by addressing a key limitation in past work—the discordance between the geographic unit underlying measures of the independent and dependent variables. Analyzing two national surveys employing a measure of perceived inequality scaled to the local level, the results suggest that citizens are indeed aware of the level of income inequality in their local environment and that the link between objective and perceived local inequality is most pronounced among lower income citizens.

Media Appearances:

Blog Posts:

(2019) The Washington Post- Monkey Cage

Having the most diverse Congress ever will affect more than just legislation (with Kenneth Lowande & Melinda Ritchie)