Julia Payson is a PhD candidate in Political Science and the Thomas D. Dee II Graduate Fellow at the Bill Lane Center for the American West for the 2016-2017 academic year. Julia studies political representation, accountability, and governance in state and local politics, with a focus on California. Her dissertation asks why some local governments in California use lobbyists to represent them in Sacramento and examines the financial implications of intergovernmental lobbying on municipal inequality.
She finds that local governments use lobbyists to compensate for inadequate representation by state officials, and her dissertation uses over a decade of original panel data on California cities to demonstrate that lobbying leads municipal governments to receive more money from the state. This research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS).
Julia’s other current research projects include an experimental survey of the effects of ranked-choice voting on California local elections and an analysis of whether voters in California school districts hold school board incumbents accountable for district academic performance. At Stanford, Julia has served as a teaching assistant for “Campaigns, Voting, Media, and Elections, “Urban Politics,” and “Introduction to American National Government and Politics.” In recognition of her commitment to teaching and service, Julia was granted the university-wide Centennial Teaching Assistant Award in 2014 and was named a 2014-2015 Graduate Public Service Fellow.