Switzer's research focuses on local government water policy in the United States. His major interest is on how political and administrative variables shape the implementation and development of environmental policy at the local level. His current research agenda is aimed at exploring how the organizational structure of water utilities determines responses to the political, climatological, and demographic environment in which the organization exists. Switzer has done work with the American Water Works Association on workforce issues and environmental justice.
Examines how local government compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act depends on the partisanship of the citizens being served. Shows that municipal utilities in more Democratic leaning areas violate the Safe Drinking Water Act less frequently than those in Republican leaning areas.
Explores public opinion about water policy, arguing that environmental worldview will motivate individual experience of local water scarcity. Suggests that issue severity will only really impact the opinion of people who have a worldview compatible with the proposed policy.
Examines how traditional perspectives on environmental justice may miss the crucial interaction between race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Shows that the effect of race and ethnicity on environmental outcomes depends on the level of socioeconomic status of the community.
Explores how the performance of public organizations may depend on the quality of the labor market in which they are situated. Suggests that organizations that lack access to educated labor may struggle to deliver quality services when tasks are complex.