American politics and institutions, legislative politics, interest groups and political parties, quantitative methods, social network analysis
Jennifer Nicoll Victor is an expert in legislative politics, particularly the United States Congress. Her research agenda is broadly motivated by her curiosity about the means by which individuals and groups influence legislative processes. More recently, she has been inspired by the methodological advantages provided by social network analysis. Her research recognizes that social networks provide an intuitive lens through which to view politics and the relatively recent application of the methods in political science have invigorated her research program. For example, she recently finished a book manuscript with Nils Ringe (Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison) called Bridging the Information Gap: Legislative Member Organizations in the United States and the European Union, forthcoming with University of Michigan Press. In the book the authors demonstrate that legislators have a nearly insatiable need for information and that existing institutions, such as political parties and committees, are limited in the types of information they can provide. Faced with these deficits, legislators form voluntary organizations that the authors call LMOs (Legislative Member Organizations), which cut across traditional institutional boundaries. The authors amass much evidence for these organizations in a variety of democratic legislatures, especially the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament.
Professor Victor holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis (2003). She joined the faculty at George Mason University (Department of Public and International Affairs) in fall 2012. Professor Victor was on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh from 2003-2012 as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. In 2005 she served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, where she worked for Senator Kent Conrad. Her research has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, P.S.: Politics & Political Science, American Politics Research, and elsewhere. At George Mason University she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on American politics and legislative politics.