Sean Farhang, Professor

Closed (1) Congressional lawmaking, delegation, and the mobilization of expertise

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

This project explores the nature, extent, and sources of information that Congress absorbs in the process of congressional hearings when considering major bills that subsequently were enacted. The project focuses on a body of highly significant federal laws passed since 1947 spanning the waterfront of policy areas. The coding work is highly substantive in nature. Students are required to read the full testimony of witnesses who appeared in congressional hearings, as well as question and answer sessions in which members of Congress probe witness testimony. Students are then required to record information about the content of the witness’ testimony and the legislators’ questions, with particular emphasis on identifying the substantive policy issues that the witness’ testimony addressed. In general, the witnesses are policy experts of one kind or another, ranging from interest group leaders, to representative of federal agencies, to business association representatives, to state and local officials. The project is well under way, so the coding protocol that students need to follow is highly developed, and the students will receive ample training and supervision.

See above for the undergraduate role. The undergraduate will learn about the process of lawmaking in Congress, as well as the process of doing empirical social scientific research.

Qualifications: Students with any background can be be trained.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Related website: http://gspp.berkeley.edu/academics/faculty/farhang.html

Closed (2) The Congressional Choice of Courts versus Agencies to Implement Law

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

When Congress passes a law to regulate some facet of social or economic life in the U.S., it must decide whether the law will be enforce through litigation and courts or though bureaucracy, or some combination of the two in mixed approach. This project investigates Congress’ choice between courts and bureaucracy for the implementation and enforcement of federal law. The main focus of the project, and the main work of coders, is to build a dataset reflecting how Congress has made this choice in federal legislation. Students will read federal statutes and apply a detailed coding protocol to record information about the role of courts and administrative agencies in the implementation of federal law, ranging across such policy areas as civil rights, labor, environmental, financial, and public health and safety regulation.

See above. The student will gain skill reading legislation.

Qualifications: Students from any background can be trained.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Related website: http://gspp.berkeley.edu/academics/faculty/farhang.html

Closed (3) Media Coverage of the Supreme Court

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2017.

This project will focus on the extent of New York Times and Wall Street Journal coverage of Supreme Court opinions bearing upon a wide range of issue areas. Students will read summaries of court opinions, conduct searches of newspaper databases, read articles on the opinions, and record information about the nature and extent of the media’s coverage of each opinion.

See above.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Professor Sean Farhang

Qualifications: None.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Related website: http://https://gspp.berkeley.edu/directories/faculty/sean-farhang

Open (4) Who Governs the Federal Reserve? The Reserve Banks and the Politics of Central Bank Appointments

Open. Apprentices needed for the fall semester. Please do NOT contact faculty before September 11th (the start of the 4th week of classes)! Enter your application on the web beginning August 16th. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, August 29th at 8 AM.

The presidents of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks are among the most powerful policymakers in the American political economy, but very little is known about who selects these individuals and how they are selected. This project explores the relationship between the representation of local elites on the Reserve Bank boards of directors—the bodies tasked with governing the Reserve Banks and appointing Reserve Bank presidents--and the policy preferences of the Reserve Bank presidents that are appointed. Whose interests are represented in the Reserve Bank president appointment process, and do monetary and regulatory policy outcomes reflect the preferences of these interests?

Students will collect biographical information on Federal Reserve Bank directors and presidents using online sources. They will also assist with coding and analyzing this original data.

In addition to learning about the Federal Reserve System, students will gain hands-on experience in creating and managing a large dataset, and in analyzing categorical data. Students will also gain experience in conducting internet searches and using LexisNexis.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Gabrielle Elul, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Students with any background can be trained. Experience with database management desirable.

Weekly Hours: 9-12 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Researchers can conduct most work from their personal computers.