Gray, Thomas R.

Permanent URI for this collection

Thomas Gray is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. His research interests are in American politics and include:

  • Judicial politics
  • State courts
  • National institutions
  • Law and society


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Item
    Congress and the Political Economy of Daylight Saving Time, 1918–1985
    (Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2019-05-06) Gray, Thomas R.; Jenkins, J. A.; Gray, Thomas R.
    Objective: Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a government policy regulating the timing of daylight during the summer months. While DST's existence is taken for granted in modern American life, the adoption and expansion of the policy was heavily debated, with strong opposition that persists to the present day—a full century after its inception as a World War I energy-efficiency program. After reviewing the history of DST, we analyze the political economy of congressional vote choice on DST policy. Method: We analyze votes of members of Congress on all DST-specific roll calls between 1918 and 1985, assessing whether members voted to expand or reduce DST. Results: We find that ideology, party, geographic location, and the portion of a constituency made up by farmers all strongly predict member support for adopting and expanding DST—and that each of these effects is durable over time. Digging deeper, we find significant evidence for local representation on DST votes, as constituency-specific factors are more strongly associated with congressional vote choice than partisanship or general ideological preferences. Conclusion: Overall, our results provide an original empirical assessment of the factors that drove the adoption and revision of a contentious and significant government policy that endures today. © 2019 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
  • Item
    Causal Inference from Pivotal Politics Theories
    (University of Chicago Press) Clarke, A. J.; Gray, Thomas R.; Lowande, K.; Gray, Thomas R.
    We review attempts to evaluate Pivotal Politics and related theories in light of the social sciences’ movement toward causal empiricism. To accommodate limitations of available data, most existing empirical approaches require additional assumptions about key variables. Moreover, it is difficult to find sources of exogenous variation in causal factors of interest. Although causal empiricism and pivotal politics theories share a focus on counterfactual comparisons, we argue that many design-based strategies for inference are ill suited to directly testing the theory’s predictions. We conclude by discussing opportunities to apply the contemporary causal inference “toolkit” to evaluate the theories’ central predictions, highlighting both the barriers to application as well as potential avenues for future use.

Works in Treasures @ UT Dallas are made available exclusively for educational purposes such as research or instruction. Literary rights, including copyright for published works held by the creator(s) or their heirs, or other third parties may apply. All rights are reserved unless otherwise indicated by the copyright owner(s).