Jonathan Woon

Associate Professor, Dept. of Political Science
Faculty, Pittsburgh Experimental Economics Lab
University of Pittsburgh
woon@pitt.edu

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4814 WW Posvar Hall
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Ph: (412) 648-7266
Fax: (412) 648-7277
My current research focuses on experimental and behavioral political economy and is concerned with how strategic incentives arising from political power and asymmetric information influence representation, political competition, and policy outcomes. I firmly believe that formal, analytical models are useful tools for social scientific inquiry, not only in generating theoretical insights about incentives and strategic interaction, but also---and especially---when their use is closely linked to empirical analysis. I use laboratory experiments to investigate fundamental issues concerning the nature of democratic politics such as electoral accountability, diversity and candidate emergence, and strategic communication. My work on the gender gap in the pool of candidates is funded by the National Science Foundation and has recently been featured in the New York Times. In my previous work, I used observational data combined with formal models to conduct novel tests of theories of political parties, congressional behavior, and lawmaking. 

An important feature of my research agenda is to explore the boundary between classical and bounded rationality and to demonstrate how models based on a variety of behavioral underpinnings can be useful for understanding politics. Consistent with this end, I have co-organized the Behavioral Models of Politics Conference (Pittsburgh 2013, Duke 2014) to bring together and promote the work of other scholars who share similar interests in exploring models and model-based empirical analyses that depart from standard assumptions.  

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updated August 21, 2014