"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose"
- Zora Neale Hurston
Research and Publications
I study agricultural policy and lobbying behavior. More specifically, I consider how polarization impacts lobbying behavior and legislative outcomes in the Agricultural and food sectors. Please contact me for replication files.
2017. Brock, Clare and Kristin Kelly. “Pennies for Pounds: Soda Consumption and Taxation as a Test of Economic Voting Behavior.” World Medical & Health Policy 9(4), 418-434.
Abstract: Utilizing 2014 Texas Lyceum Poll data, we determine whether voters would support instating a soda tax in Texas. We use self‐reported statements of political ideology, perceptions of public health, and soda consumption to examine what happens when voters face conflict between ideological preferences and consumption habits. We expect that liberals who do not drink large quantities of soda will support a soda tax in keeping with the liberal philosophy of supporting government involvement in public health; however, for liberals who more frequently drink soda, we expect they will be less likely to support a soda tax because it conflicts with their financial self‐interest. We find evidence in support of these expectations. We also find that conservatives who view public health as poor are more likely to think sociotropically and to support a soda tax. These results suggest that soda‐tax advocates should prime public health considerations to garner public support.
Brock, Clare. 2016. “Framing Child Nutrition Programs: The Impact of Party and District Characteristics on Elite Framing,” Social Science Quarterly.
Abstract: The objective of this article is to determine whether district characteristics impact the framing choices made by members of Congress. Certain frameworks may be more effective for creating policy change, and given that framing shapes the way humans conceptualize a problem space, framing should be a deliberate tool used in order to constrain the debate around certain problems. However, the actual details of debate shifts and issue framing often become a “black box” in theories of policy change. The study uses content analysis of floor statements made over a 16‐year period regarding the National School Lunch Program, the results of which are analyzed using a multinomial logistic regression. The results indicate that policy framing is highly dependent on district characteristics, but that language use itself does not appear to have changed significantly in the time period studied. The evidence presented here indicates that legislators are, at least through floor statements, engaging in delegate representation of their district interests.
Brock, Clare and Bartholomew Sparrow. 2016. “Race, Ethnicity, and the Politics of Food,” in the Oxford Handbook on Racial and Ethnic Politics in America.
Abstract: Food policy intersects with racial and ethnic politics along several dimensions: the agricultural workforce, acculturation into American society, the availability of healthy food, and the provision of social programs. First, the demand for agricultural and other low-wage workers in the food industry has encouraged immigration but many of the undocumented suffer from lack of access to basic services and legal protections. Second, many of these recent immigrants are less likely to suffer from the diseases of over-abundance that affect many Americans. However, as immigrants become acculturated into American life, their health outcomes become increasingly similar to less educated and poorer blacks and whites. Third, diet-related diseases are part of a multifaceted problem: education and income are often barriers to procuring healthy foods. Fourth, white attitudes about minority groups is associated with less support for social programs that might improve minority health outcomes. This chapter links these distinct areas of research.
Brock, Clare. 2018. Book Review: Revolving Door Lobbying: Public Service, Private Influence, and the Unequal Representation of Interests. By Timothy M. LaPira and Herschel F. Thomas. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2017. Perspectives on Politics, v16(3).
Works in Progress
Brock, Clare. “The Business (as Usual) of Washington: Political and Institutional Influences on Corporate Lobbying Strategy” (Under Review)
Abstract: At any point in time, lobbying interest groups use different lobbying and venue shopping strategies to achieve their preferred outputs. Additionally, across time a single group may use a variety of venue shopping approaches. This paper examines the variation in the intensity of lobbying directed toward Congress, the bureaucracy, and the White House, among interest groups within the agricultural sector. Specifically, it addresses the following question, what institutional and political factors determine a firm’s strategic decision regarding who to lobby? I answer this question using a time series analysis of lobbying disclosure reports, made available through the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995. The findings indicate that resources and constituency connections to members of Congress are a powerful indicator of the initial decision to lobby, and that polarization not only drives increases in lobbying, but also specifically drives lobbying toward Congress.
Brock, Clare and Sam Workman. "Food Security: Framing and Policy Implementation”
Abstract: The 1996 World Food Summit defined food security to “exist when all people at all times have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs...” (Gibson 2012). However, when the US Congress and various agencies discuss food security, they are often referring to a wide variety of food and nutrition related programs. For these policymakers, “food security” is a relatively abstract term that may refer to anything from foreign aid, to school nutrition, to food desert amelioration. The proposed research will use content analysis to analyze the substantive shifts in Congressional and agency definitions of food security, from 1990 to 2015. We argue that shifts in policymaker attention over time leads Congress to produce uneven policy that has lasting impact on domestic poverty rates and health, US academic achievement and competitiveness, and US relationships with foreign countries.