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Politics, Institutions, and Public Policy

This broad multidisciplinary program traces how social, political, and institutional dynamics shape and constrain national policymaking in the United States and in comparison with other countries. Experts in political identity, public opinion, inequality, political parties, media, gender, and many others come together to debate and study political processes and institutions and their participants.

A Message From Rachel Davis Mersey, Program Chair

Rachel Davis Mersey
From ongoing gridlock in Washington to increasingly polarized media coverage, political institutions have faced a variety of challenges over the past few years. IPR faculty continue to examine key aspects of the ways in which social, political, and institutional dynamics shape and constrain national policymaking in the United States. Researchers analyze the role of government, policymakers, public opinion, and the media, among others.

Working Papers

Recently published articles and working papers in this program area include:

Titan Alon, Matthias Doepke, Jane Olmstead-Rumsey, Michèle Tertilt. 2020. The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality (WP-20-13).

Jay Van Bavel, Robb Willer, James Druckman, Eli Finkel, et al.. 2020. Using Social and Behavioral Science to Support COVID-19 Pandemic Response (WP-20-11).

Jon Kingzette, James Druckman, Samara Klar, Yanna Krupnikov, Matthew Levendusky, and John Barry Ryan. 2020. Does Affective Polarization Undermine Support for Democratic Norms? (WP-20-10).

All Papers

Faculty Experts

Representing the fields of political science, economics, social policy, psychology, and sociology, faculty delve into the worlds of politics, institutions, and policymaking.

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Chicago Area Behavior Workshop

Faculty organizer: James Druckman with Barry Burden, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Yoshi Ono, Tohoku University;
 Cindy Kam, Vanderbilt University; Mary McGrath, Northwestern University; Mara Ostfeld, University of Michigan


Registration to be announced soon.


Sponsored by: The 2019 Chicago Area Behavior Workshop is sponsored by Northwestern’s Political Science Department, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, and  NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel.

Policy Brief: Policies to Protect Workers from Wage Theft

IPR political scientist Daniel Galvin analyzes wage-and-hour laws and minimum wage violations in all 50 states. He finds that workers are significantly less likely to be paid below the minimum wage in states with stricter laws against wage theft.

Download the brief