I am a political scientist studying citizen behavior and congressional responses to citizen participation. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and have served as a professor at the University of Oklahoma and as a research professor at the University of Virginia. From 2003 to 2004, I served as an American Political Science Fellow in the office of Congressman David R. Obey (WI-7). I am currently the Director of Professional Development and Lecturer in Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia where I also teach courses on political institutions, philanthropy, and policy implementation.

In Charlottesville, I serve on the board of directors for Madison House, on the Agency Budget Review Team for Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and on the steering committee for the Greater Charlottesville Community Health Coalition.

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If you are a family of four:

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Articles and Reports

Martin, Paul S. and Michele P. Claibourn. 2013. Citizen Participation and Congressional Responsiveness: New Evidence for Why Participation Matters. Legislative Studies Quarterly 38:59-81.

This paper examines the influence of citizen participation, specifically voter turnout, on congressional policy responsiveness. We argue that higher levels of citizen participation signal to representatives greater surveillance of their actions by their constituents and, thus, a higher probability of sanction. Representatives respond to these signals by deploying resources in ways that provide better intelligence of district needs and preferences. As a consequence, higher citizen participation is rewarded with enhanced policy responsiveness.


Claibourn, Michele P. and Paul S. Martin. 2011. Creating Constituencies: Presidential Campaigns, Selective Mobilization, and the Scope of Conflict. Political Behavior 34:27-56.
We investigate how material and symbolic campaign appeals may motivate segments of the electorate to be more engaged with the unfolding presidential campaign; this engagement is a first step toward bringing these populations into an electoral coalition. We pair two massive new data collections – the National Annenberg Election Study capturing public opinion across an entire campaign and The Wisconsin Advertising Project recording and cataloging the political commercials aired by campaigns – to examine how the candidates’ choice of issues affects who gets into the game. We find evidence that appeals to symbolic interests are more likely than appeals to material interest to selectively engage targeted groups.

Martin, Paul S., Juliana Bush and Jane Rafal Wilson. 2010. Old Media, New Media, and the Challenge to Democratic Governance: Findings from the Project on Media & Governance. Miller Center of Public Affairs, Charlottesville, VA and Washington, DC.

Martin, Paul S. 2008. The Mass Media as Sentinel: Why Bad News about Issues is Good News for Political Participation. Political Communication 25:180-193.
This paper argues that negative news coverage of politically relevant social issues stimulates political participation by shaping citizen awareness of collective problems and interest in politics. By drawing citizen attention to social problems that government may attend to, the press acts as a sentinel for the mass public, cuing them to periods when participation is more important. Drawing on an analysis of the 1974 National Election Study in combination with the CPS content analysis of newspapers, I find evidence that bad news about issues is good news for participation.

Claibourn, Michele P. and Paul S. Martin. 2007. The Third Face of Social Capital: How Membership in Voluntary Associations Improves Policy Accountability. Political Research Quarterly 60: 192-201.
This paper examines whether political accountability – the heart of a functioning democracy – is enhanced by citizen participation in voluntary associations. We contend that involvement in associations offers an easy avenue for acquiring political information, thereby aiding citizens in evaluating the president on the basis of the policies produced by the president. General Social Survey data from ten years, paired with presidential policy liberalism scores, are used to test the key hypothesis. We find support for the idea that membership in voluntary associations facilitates a more sophisticated policy accountability among citizens.

Martin, Paul S. 2004. Inside the Black Box of Negative Campaign Effects: Three Reasons Why Negative Campaigns Mobilize. Political Psychology 25: 545-562.
The debate over the effect of negative campaigns on vote turnout has not been settled. At present, studies demonstrating a mobilization effect seem to have the upper hand. However, neither side has offered a compelling theory of the causal mechanisms that connect negative campaigns and voter turnout. This paper identifies three mechanisms of voter motivation -- republican duty, candidate threat, and perceived closeness of the election -- and tests the influence of negative ads on each. The findings suggest that each works to plausibly translate exposure to negative advertisement into increased participation.

Martin, Paul S. 2003. Voting's Rewards: Voter Turnout, Attentive Publics, and Congressional Allocation of Federal Money. American Journal of Political Science 47: 110-127.
Scholars have had limited success empirically demonstrating the importance of political participation. This study shows that political participation matters because it influences political rewards. Political participation, specifically voting, acts as a political resource for geographic groups. Voting is a resource because members of Congress seek to maximize the benefits of Federal budget allocations going to their districts. Members of Congress not only try to direct resources into their districts, but they also attempt to strategically allocate those resources to the areas that provide the best return in terms of votes. Hence, areas within congressional districts that vote at higher rates will be privileged over areas that vote at lower rates.

Mutz, Diana C. and Paul S. Martin. 2001. Facilitating Communication Across Lines of Political Difference: The Role of Mass Media. American Political Science Review 95:97-114.
We use national survey data to examine the extent to which various sources of political information expose people to dissimilar political views. We hypothesize that the individual's ability and desire to exercise selective exposure is a key factor in determining whether a given source produces exposure to dissimilar views. Although a lack of diverse perspectives is a common complaint against the American news media, we find that individuals are exposed to far more dissimilar political views via news media than through interpersonal political discussants. The media advantage is rooted in the relative difficulty of selectively exposing oneself to those sources of information, as well as the lesser desire to do so, given the impersonal nature of mass media.

Claibourn, Michele P. and Paul S. Martin. 2000. Trusting and Joining? A test of the reciprocal nature of social capital. Political Behavior 22:267-291.
This paper tests a key hypothesis of the social capital literature: voluntary memberships and generalized trust reproduce one another. Panel data from the Michigan Socialization Studies from 1965 to 1982 are used to test the contemporaneous and lagged effects of interpersonal trust on joining groups and the contemporaneous and lagged effects of joining groups on interpersonal trust. We find no evidence supporting the hypothesis that interpersonal trust encourages group memberships, and only limited evidence suggesting that belonging to groups makes individuals more trusting.

Merelman, Richard M., Greg Streich and Paul Martin. 1998. Unity and Diversity in American Political Culture: An Exploratory Study of the National Conversation on American Pluralism and Identity. Political Psychology 19: 781-807.
Drawing on participant observation and quantitative analysis, this paper investigates the National Conversation on American Pluralism and Identity, a series of local conversation projects organized by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1995 and 1996. After linking this program to debates about American political culture, the paper analyzes the observational and survey data in light of five hypotheses about the conversations. The conversations reveal fundamental, unresolved dilemmas regarding the compatibility between American identity and ethnic pluralism, although the participants sometimes cope with these dilemmas in culturally creative ways.

Forthcoming and in progress:

Martin, Paul S. "Testing the 'Table-Scraps' Hypothesis: Earmarks and the Politics of Citizen Representation." In progress.

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