Devin Caughey

Devin Caughey

Associate Professor of Political Science

CV

American political development; Southern politics; representation; political parties; Congress; state politics; latent-variable models; survey weighting; regression-discontinuity designs; permutation inference.

Biography

Devin Caughey is an associate professor of political science at MIT. He joined the department in 2012, having studied history at Yale and Cambridge and received a PhD in political science from UC Berkeley. Professor Caughey works primarily on American politics, focusing on American political development and on the representational linkages between citizens, government officials, and public policies. He has also published widely on methodological topics, including Bayesian measurement models, regression-discontinuity designs, survey weighting, and survey experiments, and has dabbled in comparative politics and international relations as well. His first book, The Unsolid South (Princeton UP, 2018), examined electoral competition and congressional representation in the one-party South during and after the New Deal. His second, Dynamic Democracy (with Christopher Warshaw; Chicago UP, 2022), analyzes the dynamic relationship between public opinion and state policymaking over the past eight decades. Professor Caughey's honors include awards for best book on political organizations and parties, best article on state politics and policy, best article published in the journal Political Analysis, and best dissertation in the field of politics and history. He teaches undergraduate courses on American politics and elections and graduate courses on American political institutions, research design and methodology, political economy, and American political development.

Research

Projects

“Elections and the Regression-Discontinuity Design: Lessons from Close U.S. House Races, 1942–2008”

“Public Opinion, Organized Labor, and the Limits of New Deal Liberalism, 1936–1945”

“Honor and War: Using Southern Presidents to Identify Reputational Effects in International Conflict”

“Defining, Mapping, and Measuring Bureaucratic Autonomy”

Dissertation

Congress, Public Opinion, and Representation in the One-Party South, 1930s–1960s

Recent Publications

"Elections and the Regression Discontinuity Design: Lessons from Close U.S. House Races, 1942–2008." Political Analysis 19(4): 385–408. 2011. (with Jasjeet S. Sekhon).

"Public Opinion, Organized Labor, and the Limits of New Deal Liberalism, 1936–1945." Studies in American Political Development 25(2): 162–189. 2011. (with Eric Schickler).

Teaching

17.263/4 Electoral Politics

News

Giving the people what they want?

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Research by MIT political scientist Devin Caughey shows that over time, elected politicians in the U.S. are generally responsive to the opinions of voters.

What must the US do to sustain its democracy?

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Recent months have been tumultuous for U.S. democracy, in ways that are both novel and yet also connected to conflicts seen throughout the country’s past. MIT News spoke to several of the Institute’s political scientists and historians, and asked them: What must the U.S. do to sustain the health of its democracy?

Devin Caughey receives the Leon Epstein Award

MIT Department of Political Science

We are pleased to announce that Silverman (1968) Family Career Development Associate Professor Devin Caughey's book, The Unsolid South, has been awarded the Leon Epstein Outstanding Book Award by the Political Organizations and Parties Section of APSA.

People Power

Peter Dizikes MIT News

In politics, your voices make a difference. At least at the state level of U.S. politics, that is. A new study co-authored by an MIT political scientist shows that state policies in the U.S. from 1936 through 2014 have been responsive to public opinion — and have become even more aligned with it in recent decades.

Mapping the history of U.S. state politics

Peter Dizikes MIT News

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, in a 1932 opinion, wrote that a state could be a “laboratory” for policy, and “try novel social and economic experiments” on its own. We have since turned those words into today’s common political phrase that the 50 U.S. states are “laboratories of democracy.”

Biography

Devin Caughey is an associate professor of political science at MIT. He joined the department in 2012, having studied history at Yale and Cambridge and received a PhD in political science from UC Berkeley. Professor Caughey works primarily on American politics, focusing on American political development and on the representational linkages between citizens, government officials, and public policies. He has also published widely on methodological topics, including Bayesian measurement models, regression-discontinuity designs, survey weighting, and survey experiments, and has dabbled in comparative politics and international relations as well. His first book, The Unsolid South (Princeton UP, 2018), examined electoral competition and congressional representation in the one-party South during and after the New Deal. His second, Dynamic Democracy (with Christopher Warshaw; Chicago UP, 2022), analyzes the dynamic relationship between public opinion and state policymaking over the past eight decades. Professor Caughey's honors include awards for best book on political organizations and parties, best article on state politics and policy, best article published in the journal Political Analysis, and best dissertation in the field of politics and history. He teaches undergraduate courses on American politics and elections and graduate courses on American political institutions, research design and methodology, political economy, and American political development.

Research

Projects

“Elections and the Regression-Discontinuity Design: Lessons from Close U.S. House Races, 1942–2008”

“Public Opinion, Organized Labor, and the Limits of New Deal Liberalism, 1936–1945”

“Honor and War: Using Southern Presidents to Identify Reputational Effects in International Conflict”

“Defining, Mapping, and Measuring Bureaucratic Autonomy”

Dissertation

Congress, Public Opinion, and Representation in the One-Party South, 1930s–1960s

Recent Publications

"Elections and the Regression Discontinuity Design: Lessons from Close U.S. House Races, 1942–2008." Political Analysis 19(4): 385–408. 2011. (with Jasjeet S. Sekhon).

"Public Opinion, Organized Labor, and the Limits of New Deal Liberalism, 1936–1945." Studies in American Political Development 25(2): 162–189. 2011. (with Eric Schickler).

Teaching

17.263/4 Electoral Politics

News

Giving the people what they want?

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Research by MIT political scientist Devin Caughey shows that over time, elected politicians in the U.S. are generally responsive to the opinions of voters.

What must the US do to sustain its democracy?

Peter Dizikes MIT News

Recent months have been tumultuous for U.S. democracy, in ways that are both novel and yet also connected to conflicts seen throughout the country’s past. MIT News spoke to several of the Institute’s political scientists and historians, and asked them: What must the U.S. do to sustain the health of its democracy?

Devin Caughey receives the Leon Epstein Award

MIT Department of Political Science

We are pleased to announce that Silverman (1968) Family Career Development Associate Professor Devin Caughey's book, The Unsolid South, has been awarded the Leon Epstein Outstanding Book Award by the Political Organizations and Parties Section of APSA.

People Power

Peter Dizikes MIT News

In politics, your voices make a difference. At least at the state level of U.S. politics, that is. A new study co-authored by an MIT political scientist shows that state policies in the U.S. from 1936 through 2014 have been responsive to public opinion — and have become even more aligned with it in recent decades.

Mapping the history of U.S. state politics

Peter Dizikes MIT News

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, in a 1932 opinion, wrote that a state could be a “laboratory” for policy, and “try novel social and economic experiments” on its own. We have since turned those words into today’s common political phrase that the 50 U.S. states are “laboratories of democracy.”