Alexander V. Hirsch

Professor of Political Science
Director of Graduate Studies (Social Sciences)
California Institute of Technology

Research Interests
American Politics; Political Institutions; Congress; Bureaucracy; Political Economy; Formal Theory


Contact Information
Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences
MC 228-77
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125

Phone: (626) 395-4216


Published and Forthcoming
  • "Lobbyists as Gatekeepers: Theory and Evidence," with B. Pablo Montagnes, Karam Kang, and Hye Young You. Accepted, Journal of Politics.
        Show Abstract

  • "Polarization and Campaign Spending in Elections" Accepted, Journal of Politics
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  • "A Theory of Policy Sabotage," with John Kastellec. Journal of Theoretical Politics (2022), 34 (2): 191-218.
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  • "Policy-Development Monopolies: Adverse Consequences and Institutional Responses," with Kenneth W. Shotts. Journal of Politics (2018), 80 (4): 1339-54.
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  • "Fear, Appeasement, and the Effectiveness of Deterrence," with Ron Gurantz. Journal of Politics (2017) 79 (3): 1041-56.
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  • "Experimentation and Persuasion in Political Organizations." American Political Science Review (2016), 110 (1): 52-67.
        Show Abstract     Supplemental Mathematica Code

  • "Signaling and Counter-Signaling in the Judicial Hierarchy: An Empirical Analysis of En Banc Review," with Deborah Beim and John Kastellec. American Journal of Political Science (2016), 60 (2): 490-508.
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  • "Competitive Policy Development," with Kenneth W. Shotts. American Economic Review (2015) 105 (4): 1646-64.
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  • "Whistleblowing and Compliance in the Judicial Hierarchy," with Deborah Beim and John Kastellec. American Journal of Political Science (2014) 58 (4): 904-18.
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  • "Policy-Specific Information and Informal Agenda Power," with Kenneth W. Shotts. American Journal of Political Science (2012) 56 (1): 67-83.
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  • "Common Agency Lobbying over Coalitions and Policy," with David P. Baron - Economic Theory (2012) 49 (3): 639-81.
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  • "Theory Driven Bias in Ideal Point Estimates - A Monte Carlo Study" - Political Analysis (2011) 19 (1): 87-102
        Matlab Programs
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Working Papers
  • "Voter Attention and Electoral Accountability," with Saba Devdariani
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  • "Productive Policy Competition and Asymmetric Extremism"
    (A full history of previously-circulated versions of this manuscript is available here)
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  • "Veto Players and Policy Entrepreneurship," with Kenneth W. Shotts
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Selected Work in Progress
  • "An Experimental Study of Delegation," with Marina Agranov and Lindsey Gailmard    

  • "The Influence of Supreme Court Dissents,'' with John Kastellec


California Institute of Technology
  • Political Theory (SS202a), Ph.D., 2014-2021

  • Analyzing Congress (PS121), Undergraduate, 2014-2018

  • Political Agency (SS231c, SS210c), Graduate, 2018, 2021

Princeton University and Woodrow Wilson School
  • Congressional Politics (POL324), Undergraduate, Fall 2010, 2011, 2013
        Course Description, Syllabus

  • Money and Influence in Policymaking (WWS 594d, 403d), MPA Spring 2012, Undergraduate Fall 2013
        Course Description, WWS594a - Spring 2012 MPA, WWS403d - Fall 2013 Undergraduate

  • Advanced Political Institutions (POL581), Ph.D., Spring 2012, 2014

  • Business Strategy in the Public Sphere (WWS528d), MPA/MPP, Spring 2011
        Course Description

Teaching Cases
  • "Health Care Reform: 2009-2010," with Kenneth W. Shotts. Stanford GSB Case P74.
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A couple links to interviews I have done, which provide a window into how I (was taught to) think about the role of models in political science. Many thanks to the interviewers and editors!


Last updated on July 13, 2022