Professor, Associate Department Head
Phone: (979) 845-2525
Google Scholar Profile
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 funding from the National Science Foundation she and Nehemia Geva have fielded a parallel experiment in 8 countries to study how young people evaluate the capacity of women, compared to men, to govern across different levels of posts and diverse policy areas. She continues to study representation of women in presidential cabinets with a regional focus on Latin America. Her cabinets work, with Maria Escobar-Lemmon, includes their book Women in Presidential Cabinets: Power Players or Abundant Tokens? (2016 Oxford University Press). The book examines the credentials and group linkages of men and women in the cabinets of 5 countries, and whether men and women who bring equivalent “political capital resources” to the cabinet are treated equally. New work about representation of women in the executive branch includes media treatment of female compared to male cabinet ministers, where ministers go to work when they exit the cabinet, and selection of female and male vice-presidential candidates.
Her earlier work studied the process of democratization, how the design of democratic institutions creates incentives for different types of behavior by legislators, and incentives to represent poor people. This work included her book, Do the Poor Count? Representation and Accountability in a Context of Poverty (2010 Penn State University Press). That book examined 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.
Her research often requires fieldwork to interview political elites, collect archival data, or conduct experiments. She has made research trips to Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, England, Honduras, Mexico and Uruguay, at times including her graduate students in her fieldwork. 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, Politics & Gender, Women and Politics, Political Research Quarterly and the Journal of Legislative Studies and she has published books with Oxford University Press, Penn State University Press, and the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Dr. Taylor-Robinson is affiliated faculty with the TAMU Women’s and Gender Studies Program.