Nathan Morse

Ph.D. Student, Political Science
Pennsylvania State University

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I am a graduate student at Penn State studying American politics and political methodology. My primary research interests are political representation and inequality. I mostly focus on institutional design to understand how the structure of the government itself influences economic, social, and racial inequality. I also study elections, voting rights, and police violence.

I received my B.A. at the University of Florida in Statistics and Political Science. I focused on election data science, applied statistical methods, and political theory.


Institutions

Institutions

Policy Differences Between the House and the Senate

American Institutions, Political Inequality

Are policies with expert approval more likely to pass the House or the Senate? I hypothesize that when economists agree that a bill will help the economy and alleviate economic inequality, it is more likely to pass the House and fail the Senate. If supported by the evidence, this would imply that fair representation is not just normatively desirable, it also produces better quality policy.


Inequality

Inequality

Education Policy and Food Inequality

Education Policy, Economic Inequality

We know that poverty can lead to lower quality education, but is the opposite true as well? In this project with Christopher Zorn and Rhianna Franchini, we are examining how education policy shapes food deserts as a gauge of economic inequality.


Institutions

Institutions

What Types of Political Systems Have Been More Effective at Containing the Spread of COVID-19?

COVID-19, OLS Regression (May 2019)

In this paper, I theorize that the United States' slow response to the COVID-19 outbreak is a result of structural issues that transcend the current administration. I expected a combination of federalism, democracy, and public distrust of scientists to create a recipe for disaster in the United States. However, I found that federalism had the opposite effect in most countries and usually led to more effective containment of the virus. Infection rates in the United States were nearly twice as high as we would expect given its federalism, democracy, urban density, and elderly population. Because the high infection rates in the United States cannot be explained by structural or demographic characteristics, they are likely due to either poor leadership, a misinformed public, or both. (Email for Article)


Inequality

Inequality

Police Brutality in the United States: What Polling Practices Reveal About the National Conversation

Race, Public Opinion, Survival Analysis (May 2019)

As part of a broader research project with Ray Block, this paper explores what polls can reveal about the national conversation surrounding police shootings of unarmed black Americans. Rather than studying the answers to the polls, this project studies the questions from pollsters themselves. Using survival analysis, I modeled the time it takes for pollsters to begin asking questions about a police encounter after an incident happens. I found that media companies sponsor polls about incidents when they involve deaths of unarmed civilians more quickly and frequently than any other type of police encounter, but no such trend exists for polls sponsored by nonprofit organizations. (Email for Article)


Behavior

Behavior

Voter Registration Rates: Identifying Where People Are Not Registered and Why

Undergraduate Research, Elections, Political Behavior, OLS Regression (November 2018)

While much research exists comparing voter turnout to population counts, not a lot compares voter registration to population counts. Registration rates could be valuable for campaigns looking to make strategic decisions regarding where resources would be the most effective. Using North Carolina's voter registration data, I explore trends in registration rates across counties. Although I was not seeking to answer any empirical question in particular, the results suggest that further research into the effectiveness of voter registration drives is needed. In North Carolina at least, campaigns would likely benefit from listening to disillusioned registered voters rather than signing up new ones. (View Article)



Location Department of Political Science
Pennsylvania State University
203 Pond Lab
University Park, PA 16802