PoliInformatics: A big data approach to government transparency and understanding

Broad participation by informed citizens should lead to better public policy. But that doesn’t mean it is going to happen. Cognitively, people are inclined toward confirmation bias (looking for evidence that confirms what they already believe) and towards simple explanations of complex issues (dimension reduction). A central goal of this … Continue reading

Visualizing Lawmaking: The End of School House Rock?

Most of us learned (in school or by watching School House Rock) that members of Congress dream up solutions to problems in society, introduce them as bills and then struggle to advance those bills through a maze of procedural hurdles to become law. Of course, this civics portrayal of lawmaking … Continue reading

Professor Becca Thorpe’s recent book wins two national awards!

How is it that the United States—a country founded on a distrust of standing armies and strong centralized power—came to have the most powerful military in history? Long after World War II and the end of the Cold War, in times of rising national debt and reduced need for high … Continue reading

Using plagiarism detection methods to trace the origins of the Affordable Care Act

John Wilkerson (Professor, CAPPP Director), Nicholas Stramp (Graduate Fellow), and David Smith (Assistant Professor, College of Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University) are using computer science text reuse methods commonly used to match genetic sequences or to detect plagiarism to follow policy ideas through the legislative process. One of the cases they’ve … Continue reading

Online Teaching Tools

LegSim - A student-run congressional simulation for HS and college students.
LegEx - A data-driven discovery tool for learning about how bills become law.

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The Center for American Politics and Public Policy (CAPPP) at the University of Washington is a research institution within the Department of Political Science.