Profile picture for user adams.brian

Brian E. Adams

Professor of Political Science, San Diego State University
Chapter Leader: San Diego SSN
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Brian

About Brian

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.

In the News

Guest on The North County Beat, August 21, 2020.
Quoted by Jill Castellano in "San Diego County’s House Members: How Loyal are They To Their Parties?," KPBS, March 7, 2018.
Quoted by Joe Yerardi in "Cash is Key for Republicans Eying County Supervisor Dave Roberts’ Seat," KPBS, June 11, 2015.
Quoted by Kyla Calvert in "Barrera Will Lead Labor Council, Remain on School Board," KPBS, May 23, 2013.


"Community Acceptance of, and Opposition to, Homeless-Serving Facilities" (with Megan Welsh Carroll and Nicolas Gutierrez III). International Journal on Homelessness 3, no. 2 (2023): 156–183.

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).

"Campaigning in Lilliput: Money’s Influence in Small and Mid-Sized City Elections" California Journal of Politics & Policy 10, no. 2 (2018).

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.

"Ballot Cues, Business Candidates, and Voter Choices in Local Elections" (with Ted L. Lascher Jr. and Danielle Joesten Martin). American Politics Research (Forthcoming).

Discusses how American voters commonly express abstract support for candidates with a business background.

"Decentralization and Policy Experimentation in Education: The Consequences of Enhancing Local Autonomy in California" The Journal of Federalism 50, no. 1 (2019): 30-54.

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. 

"Assessing the Merits of Decentralization: A Framework for Identifying the Causal Mechanisms Influencing Policy Outcomes" Politics & Policy 44, no. 5 (2016): 820-849.

Develops a theoretical framework for understanding how decentralization can influence policy outcomes.

"Working through Disagreement in Deliberative Forums" The Social Science Journal 52, no. 2 (2015): 229-238.

Explores how citizens deal with disagreements when they arise during deliberation.

"Reason-Giving In Deliberative Forums" Journal of Public Deliberation 10, no. 2 (2014).

explores whether deliberators give reasons and evidence to support their conclusions when discussing public policy issues

"Campaign Finance in Local Elections: Buying the Grassroots" (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2010).

Explores the role of money in local election and the efficacy of campaign finance reform efforts on a local level.

"Citizen Lobbyists: Local Efforts to Influence Public Policy" (Temple University Press, 2006).

Explores how citizens attempt to influence local policy issues through non-electoral participation.