In Song Kim awarded a 2020-2021 Russell Sage Presidential Authority grant

In Song Kim, Class of 1956 Career Development Associate Professor of Political Science

Image: Stuart Darsch

Please join the department in congratulating Professor In Song Kim, recently awarded a 2020-2021 Russell Sage grant.

The Russell Sage Foundation recently approved Presidential Authority Grants in its Future of Work; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; and Social, Political, and Economic Inequality programs. Grants were also approved in the foundation’s special initiatives on Computational Social Science and Immigration and Immigrant Integration.

Kim received a grant in the field of computational social science, for his study examining campaign contributions and lobbying.  "Unequal Political Representation: Evidence from a Comprehensive Database of Lobbying and Campaign Contributions".

From the Russell Sage website, Kim describes his project:

Democratically-elected leaders are expected to make policy that reflects the interests of their constituents. In reality, however, money buys ads that frame the public debate, funds candidates who run for office, and pays lobbyists who advocate for specific legislation. Political scientist In Song Kim will examine campaign contributions and lobbying to investigate the political origins of social and economic inequalities. First, he will develop a comprehensive database of money in politics, encompassing all federal lobbying and campaign donations from 1999 to the present. The new public database will allow researchers to examine the mechanisms through which unequal access to legislative and electoral political institutions may aggravate social and economic inequalities. Second, Kim will identify those political actors who wield disproportionate power, as well as their political strategies. He will use natural language processing algorithms to infer statistically whether any recurring instances of lobbying or campaign donations by interest groups constitute a distinct political connection to specific politicians. Finally, Kim will investigate whether campaign donations made by interest groups are linked to their lobbying activities. He will analyze whether interest groups use campaign contributions to “buy access” to politicians they later lobby.

This study is a part of a broader project supported by the National Science Foundation grant that was used to develop the LobbyView database, which Kim will merge with the data on campaign donations he will collect for this project.