Job Market Paper:

Advertising is a crucial instrument in political campaigns. A correctly-placed and designed ad energizes a politician’sbase and depresses the opponent’s. I theoretically and empirically examine how politicians strategically vary adcontent and placement to reflect the political makeup of audiences to invoke desired electoral reactions. Politicianscan select ads that increase the salience of policy positions or highlight valence (non-policy) attributes via positiveads about themselves or negative ads about opponents. In turn, ads affect voters’ choices of candidates andwhether to abstain due to alienation or indifference. I characterize theoretically how the optimal composition of adsvaries with audience demographics and candidate characteristics. I then use the texts of different ads in states withcompetitive gubernatorial or presidential contests in 2008 and 2012 to identify the types of ads used on different tvshows. I combine these data with viewer demographic and polling data, uncovering empirical findings consistentwith the theory (e.g., opposing candidates target different (and more polarized) audiences with policy ads, positivevalence ads are mostly targeted to a candidate’s alienated base).


Working Papers:

Work in Progress

  • "Candidate Advertising Free Riding and Party Solutions".

  • "Endogenous Order with Sequential Elections", with George Deltas.

  • "The Politics of Shootings: The effect of mass shootings on candidate endorsement, position, campaign messaging and vote share", with Felipe Diaz and Anna Kyriazis.