Alex Garlick, PhD

Political Scientist

around the web:  linkedin | google scholar | department website | blog archive  | @garlicksauce on socials

About Me

I'm an assistant professor at the University of Vermont. I am faculty in the Political Science Department and the Health and Society Program. Previously, I was an assistant professor at The College of New Jersey,  a 2016-17 American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, received a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. at Middlebury College.  In high school, I was an elected member of the Needham, Massachusetts Town Meeting.

My research specializes on Congress, interest group lobbying, state politics and health policy. Here is a copy of my CV [.pdf]. My book project: Pre-existing Conditions: How Lobbying Makes American Health Care More Expensive  shows how lobbyists representing the health care industry  can explain the high, rising, and variable cost of health care across the United States. It is currently under review.   

Academic Publications

Peer Reviewed:8.  "Bicameralism Hinges on Legislative Professionalization."A Brown, A Garlick (2023)Legislative Studies Quarterly, OnlineFirst[html |dataverse | ungated
7. "Laboratories of Politics: There is Bottom-Up Diffusion of Attention in the American Federal System"A Garlick (2023)Political Research Quarterly 76 (1), 29-43 [html | dataverse | ungated with appendix]
6. "Interest group lobbying and partisan polarization in the United States: 1999–2016"A Garlick (2022)Political Science Research and Methods 10 (3), 488-506[html | dataverse | appendix | ungated]
5. "The Battle Over Health Care"A Garlick (2022)In Under the Iron Dome, edited by Herrnson, P; Campbell, C.; Dulio, D.[html | ungated]
4. "Automated estimates of state interest group lobbying populations"A Garlick, J Cluverius (2020)Interest Groups & Advocacy 9 (3), 396-409[html | dataverse | ungated with appendix]
3. "Mercy and Malice: An Inside View of the Push to Repeal and Replace Obamacare"A Garlick (2018)PS: Political Science & Politics 51 (2), 491-493[html | ungated]
2. "National Policies, Agendas, and Polarization in American State Legislatures: 2011 to 2014"A Garlick (2017)American Politics Research 45 (6), 939 - 979[html | ungated]
1. "'The Letter after Your Name' Party Labels on Virginia Ballots"A Garlick (2015)State Politics & Policy Quarterly 15 (2), 147-170[html | dataverse | ungated | appendix]

Book Reviews:

3. "The legacy of lobbying on the Affordable Care Act"

A Garlick (2023)Interest Groups & Advocacy  [html | ungated]Books reviewed: Stealth Lobbying by Amy McKay, Ten Year War by Jonathan Cohn, The Committee by Bryan Marshall and Bruce Wolpe
2. "Interest groups and the evolution of gun and racial politics in the USA"A Garlick (2021)Interest Groups & Advocacy 10 (1), 91-94[html | ungated]Books reviewed: The Gun Gap by Mark Joslyn, Warped Narratives by Melissa Merry 
1. "A new wave of pluralism in the study of environmental policy in the USA"A Garlick (2020)Interest Groups & Advocacy 9 (2), 244-247[html | ungated]Books reviewed: Short Circuiting Policy by Leah Stokes, Falter by Bill McKibben, California Greenin' by David Vogel
Dissertation"Interest groups, lobbying and polarization in the United States"A Garlick (2016)UPenn Dissertation Repository[html | ungated]


Built on top of the legacy OpenStates data for all 50 states from ~2009-2018, this contains over one million observations of state legislation to measure how far it progressed in the bicameral legislative process. It includes an original coding scheme.

This uses a dictionary method (keyword searches of LexisNexis State Capital Universe) to identify state legislation by 22 policy areas dating back to 1991. It demonstrates high precision (placing bills into the correct category), and consistent recall over time. 

This uses an automated method to estimate the policy sector of the interest groups in the National Institute for Money in State Politics database of groups registered to lobby in the 50 states from 2006-2018. 

Working papers 


10. "Here’s why rare bills that fail are as interesting as the ones that succeed."

  3 Streams blog (2023)

9. "The end of Roe v. Wade moves abortion to the states."

London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog (2022)

8. "Impeachment puts presidential power on trial." 

Mischiefs of Faction (2021)

7. "How the pandemic has changed the value of lobbying."

3 Streams blog (2020, with Trevor Mulhall)

6. "Ambitious state legislators are pushing abortion bans to please interest groups who sense an end to Roe v. Wade."

London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog (2019)

5. Missing party labels could matter in the Mississippi Senate special election" (2018)

4. "In considering Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, the Senate should take the long view."

London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog (2017)

3. "Gridlock Won: Republican obstruction paid off big time in 2016, with lasting consequences."

US News and World Report (2016)

2. "Including party labels on ballots increases voting in local elections, especially among minorities."

London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog (2015)

1. "A Method to the Gridlock Madness: The GOP uses obstruction tactics because they work."

US News and World Report (2014)

Media Appearances





At UVM I teach:

At TCNJ I taught:

Please contact me if you'd like a syllabus from one of these courses.