Adams's research focuses on democracy on a local level. He has done research on both electoral and non-electoral participation in cities, with a particular focus on explaining why local governments do not reach their democratic potential.
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Analyzes under what conditions will the public accept homeless-serving housing and social service facilities in their neighborhood. Answers this question through a basic descriptive statistical analysis of a brief survey (respondent n=251) and a thematic analysis of seven focus groups with residents of San Diego, California (participant n=34).
Explores whether campaign finance dynamics are different in small and mid-sized cities, using a dataset of 61 California cities. Despite reason to think that they will vary, I find that campaign finance patterns are similar across cities of various sizes. Few city council candidates are able to mount credible campaigns without money, even in small cities. Incumbents enjoy high re-election rates across all cities, and levels of competition may even decrease with constituency size.
Discusses how American voters commonly express abstract support for candidates with a business background.
Identifies three pathways through which decentralization could plausibly lead to greater experimentation and empirically assess their presence through an analysis of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a policy that enhanced the fiscal autonomy of local school districts.
Develops a theoretical framework for understanding how decentralization can influence policy outcomes.
Explores how citizens deal with disagreements when they arise during deliberation.
explores whether deliberators give reasons and evidence to support their conclusions when discussing public policy issues
Explores the role of money in local election and the efficacy of campaign finance reform efforts on a local level.
Explores how citizens attempt to influence local policy issues through non-electoral participation.