Philip D. Waggoner

Welcome! My name is Philip Waggoner and I am a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and a Faculty Affiliate at the Social Science Research Methods Center (SSRMC) at the College of William & Mary. I am also the Associate Editor for computational social science at the Journal of Open Research Software.

My research explores how and why people make decisions at the mass and elite levels of American politics. At the intersection of behavior and institutions, I use a variety of statistical techniques, experimental methods, and interactive data visualization to explore questions related to public policy making, trust in automation, and political representation. My research has been supported by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) at George Mason University, the William A. Steiger Fund for Legislative Studies and the Centennial Center of the American Political Science Association.

I received my Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Houston, an M.P.A. from the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver, and a B.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University. For more information, see my CV.




I also enjoy writing R packages and am an occasional contributor at R-Bloggers. I am an author and the active maintainer of the ssrmc package, which complements the data and work of the SSRMC at William & Mary. Several of my other projects and packages in process are available at my GitHub. Feel free to send any bug catches my way, either directly or by opening a ticket at GitHub. To date, I have released:

  • plotGMM (with Fong Chun Chan) for plotting components from Gaussian mixture models
  • rIP (with Ryan Kennedy and Scott Clifford) for validating IP addresses to detect fraud in online surveys
  • hhi for calculation and visualization of Herfindahl-Hirschman Index scores
  • purging to address mediation effects among independent variables
  • mlbstats, which is a player metrics calculator for a host of statistics from base-running and batting, to fielding and pitching

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

                    PDF | Replication Materials | GitHub Repo

                 PDF | Appendix

Manuscripts Under Review

  • "Measuring Aggregate Policy Priorities of the U.S. House of Representatives"
  • "The Ideological Dynamics of Presidential Foreign Policy Rhetoric." (with Matthew Ward)
  • "Explaining the Impact of Cosponsorship in Congress" (with Carol Ann Downes)
  • "Detecting Fraud in Online Surveys by Tracing, Scoring, and Visualizing IP Addresses" (with Ryan Kennedy and Scott Clifford)
  • "The Shape of and Solutions to the MTurk Quality Crisis." (with Scott Clifford, Ryan Kennedy, Tyler Burleigh, and Ryan Jewell)
  • "A Simple Method for Purging Mediation Effects"

Manuscripts in Preparation & Working Papers (Selected)

  • "The Impact of Personality on Issue Specialization in Congress."
  • "Issue Ownership, Trespassing and Policy Representation"
  • "The Role of Personality in Trust in Public Policy Automation." (with Ryan Kennedy)
  • "Trust in Public Policy Algorithms." (with Ryan Kennedy and Matthew Ward)
  • An Introductory Guide to LaTeX.

Dormant Projects (Selected)
  • "Structure, Conduct, and Performance in Congress."
  • "Adapting Neural Networks to Explain Legislative Productivity." (with Juntao Wang)
  • "Subnational Issue Ownership." (with Boris Shor)