Political Science PhD candidate focusing on American institutions



Furnas, Alexander C., Michael Heaney and Timothy LaPira. “The Partisan Ties of Lobbying Firms” Research & Politics. Forthcoming. [pre-print version]

🥇 2018 Best Paper Award from the section on Political Organizations and Parties of the American Political Science Association.

🥉 Honorable Mention for the 2018 Best Paper Award from the Standing Group on Interest Groups of the European Consortium on Political Research (ECPR).

This article examines lobbying firms as intermediaries between organized interests and legislators in the United States. It states a partisan theory of legislative subsidy in which lobbying firms generate greater revenues when their clients believe that firms’ partisan ties are valued highly by members of Congress. It formulates hypotheses that lobbying firms that have partisan ties to the majority party receive greater revenues than do lobbying firms that do not have such ties, as well as that partisan ties with the House majority party lead to greater financial returns than do partisan ties to the Senate majority party. These hypotheses are tested using data available under the Lobbying Disclosure Act from 2008 to 2016. Panel regression analysis indicates that lobbying firms receive financial benefits when they have partisan ties with the majority party in the House but not necessarily with the Senate majority party, while controlling for firm-level covariates (number of clients, client diversity, and firm organizational characteristics). A difference-in-differences analysis establishes that Democratically aligned lobbying firms experienced financial losses when the Republican Party reclaimed the House in 2011, but there were no significant differences between Republican and Democratic firms when the Republicans reclaimed the Senate in 2015.

Furnas, Alexander C., Lee Drutman, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Kevin Kosar and Timothy LaPira. “The Congressional Capacity Survey: Some takeaways about who staff are, how they got there, what they do, and where they may go” In Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform, edited by Lee Drutman, Kevin Kosar and Timothy LaPira. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Forthcoming 2020.

Edwards, Benjamin, Alexander Furnas, Stephanie Forrest, and Robert Axelrod. “Strategic aspects of cyberattack, attribution, and blame.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2017): 201700442.

Cyber conflict is now a common and potentially dangerous occurrence. The target typically faces a strategic choice based on its ability to attribute the attack to a specific perpetrator and whether it has a viable punishment at its disposal. We present a game-theoretic model, in which the best strategic choice for the victim depends on the vulnerability of the attacker, the knowledge level of the victim, payoffs for different outcomes, and the beliefs of each player about their opponent. The resulting blame game allows analysis of four policy-relevant questions: the conditions under which peace (i.e., no attacks) is stable, when attacks should be tolerated, the consequences of asymmetric technical attribution capabilities, and when a mischievous third party or an accident can undermine peace. Numerous historical examples illustrate how the theory applies to cases of cyber or kinetic conflict involving the United States, Russia, China, Japan, North Korea, Estonia, Israel, Iran, and Syria.

Furnas, Alexander C. and Lee Drutman. “Descriptive Network Analysis: interest group lobbying dynamics around immigration policy.” In Government, Policy and Analytics, edited by Jennifer Bachner and Kathryn Wagner Hill. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017.

This chapter provides an introduction to the use of network methods for descriptive and exploratory political analysis. We offer a general introduction to the kinds of data that can be represented and interrogated with network tools and then provide some introductory guidance on effectively using those tools. We also walk through an example of using these network methods on real-world political data by presenting an analysis of lobbying on immigration issues.

Furnas, Alexander C. “Procurement Disclosure in the Slovak Republic." In Civic Media Project, edited by Eric Gordon and Paul Mihailidis. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015.