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Dr. Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson combines a rational choice and historical institutionalism approach to understand political behavior. Her research focuses on how the design of democratic institutions affects representation and the consequences for consolidating democracy with a regional focus on Latin America. One component of her work examines representation of the poor, including her book, Do the Poor Count? Representation and Accountability in a Context of Poverty (2010 Penn State University Press). The book examines how the monitoring capacity of poor and rich people and the design of institutions affect the capacity of poor and rich people to sanction elected officials, as well as how institutional constraints on legislators affect the incentives Latin American legislators have to represent poor people. A second component of her work studies representation of women in government. She is working with Maria Escobar-Lemmon on a book-length project examining qualifications of cabinet ministers in Latin America, examining if there is a gendered nature to cabinet appointments. A new research project about women and politics explores the existence and nature of a gender gap in Latin American countries. A third line of research studies how the mass public views the job of elected officials, particularly testing hypotheses about how socioeconomic status relates to how people view the job of legislators. This research uses original survey data from Mexico City including survey-embedded experiments. Her research often requires fieldwork to interview political elites and to collect archival data. She has made research trips to Costa Rica, Honduras, and Mexico, at times including her graduate students in her fieldwork.
Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Organization of American States, and Texas A&M University. Dr. Taylor-Robinson’s research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Women and Politics, Political Research Quarterly and the Journal of Legislative Studies. Her book, Negotiating Democracy (with Gretchen Casper) was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Dr. Taylor-Robinson is affiliated faculty with the TAMU Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She is also an active participant in the Department’s PERG and Cross-National Study of Politics programs.
- POLS 323 – Political Systems of Latin America
- POLS 329 – Introduction to Comparative Politics
- POLS 367 – Women in Government
- POLS 621 – Theory and method in Comparative Politics
- POLS 681 – Seminar
- POLS 685 – Directed Studies
Nehemia Geva, Michelle Taylor-Robinson, Rhonda Struminger, and Pablo Paras, “What Should Congress Members Do? Using Survey Embedded Experiments to Study Citizens’ Clientelistic Expectations in Mexico,” Revista Latinoamericana de Opinion Publica (No. 1, 2011): 147-184.
Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson and Ashley Ross, “Can Formal Rules of Order be Used as an Accurate Proxy for Behavior Internal to a Legislature? Evidence from Costa Rica?” Journal of Legislative Studies 17 (4, 2011).
_____ and Joseph D. Ura. “Public Opinion and Conflict in the Separation of Powers: Understanding the Honduran Coup of 2009,” Journal of Theoretical Politics (forthcoming).