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Book and

Research Projects

My book

Congress has failed to make even incremental progress on pressing problems in recent decades. While polarization is certainly part of the reason, almost a quarter of legislators reject compromises, even when those compromises move policy toward what they say they prefer. Those legislators who report that their voters – especially their primary voters – are likely to punish compromise are more likely to reject these “half-loaf” offers. Although evidence from survey experiments on a representative sample of the mass public suggests that most voters reward legislators for compromising, approximately a third of a legislators’ co-partisan primary voters who oppose the particular compromise being offered will punish the legislator for supporting a half-loaf offer. These patterns suggest that legislators are responding to a small fraction of the electorate, at the expense of representing others who do want compromise. The book concludes with consideration of possible solutions to rejection of these compromises.

Click here to watch Sarah's talk about why legislators don't compromise and what to do about it



Professors Sarah Anderson, Andrew Plantinga, and Naomi Tague lead an interdisciplinary team in pursuit of new strategies for managing wildfire under conditions of climate change. The research initiative facilitates collaboration among natural and social scientists, with the intention of filling this knowledge gap and developing new management strategies to prepare for and respond to wildfires in a changing climate.


Center for Social Solutions to Environmental Problems

Our mission is to overcome the social and political barriers preventing society from solving environmental problems. We have researchers working on how to mobilize citizens to engage in environmental solutions, how groups can engage volunteers, how firms solve environmental problems, and how governments can overcome gridlock on environmental issues. Affiliates study how to reduce household water usage, what causes governments to adopt renewable 

Adult Students

energy policies, how the public thinks about climate change and energy, and how government responds to wildfire. With an engaged group of faculty and graduate students who come together each week to discuss cutting edge research and comment on each other’s work, our group offers unparalleled breadth and depth in the study of environmental politics and policy.


UCSB is a leader in the fields that contribute to implementation of environmental policies. Drawing on the knowledge of political scientists, psychologists, economists, and other social scientists, we work every day to make it possible to solve environmental problems, whether by bringing the will of citizens to bear or by engaging firms and organizations to solve them. We facilitate the training of a new generation of graduate students, create and nurture a network of researchers at UCSB and beyond, incubate new research programs, and disseminate our research.

California Gizzly Research Network

The California Grizzly Research Network promotes a more informed scholarly and public discussion about the past, present, and future of grizzly bears in California through rigorous, interdisciplinary research. Our first goal is to develop a community of scholars with the expertise and capacity to answer key historical, scientific, and management questions about grizzlies in California. Our second goal is to advance scholarly knowledge about the reintroduction and recovery of imperiled wildlife. Our third goal is to contribute to a broader discussion about the restoration and rewilding of ecosystems in an era of global environmental change. 


Podcast Appearance: Our American Discourse

We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do they disappoint us so often? Are they really ignoring our needs and demands, or are we misunderstanding the challenges they face?
In this episode, Sarah Anderson shows that it’s a little of both: politicians don’t listen to all constituents equally, but they also can’t just snap their fingers and fulfill our wishes.

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