Hello! My name is Anna Gunderson and I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University. In 2019, I received my Ph.D. in political science from Emory University. I study American Politics and specifically the politics of punishment and mass incarceration. My interests include criminal justice policy, state politics, the politics of race, and public policy. I am working on a book on the adoption of private prisons in the American states. My work has appeared or is forthcoming in Political Research Quarterly, Nature Human Behaviour, Perspectives on Politics, the ​Journal of Politics, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.

My book Captive Market: Accountability and State Prison Privatization is forthcoming with Oxford University Press in 2022 (preorder here). I consider the institutional factors contributing to American states' decisions to adopt private prisons. I find none of the expected predictors of this policy contribute to the likelihood a state adopts it. Rather, I argue prisoners' rights litigation conditioned states' response to prison overcrowding, thus resulting in the unintended consequence of private prison adoption. I have been awarded several prizes for this work: the 2020 Mooney Prize for the best dissertation in state politics and policy; the 2020 Neal Tate award for the best paper on judicial politics presented at the 2019 Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting; the 2019 Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Prize from the Public Choice Society; and the 2019 Best Graduate Student Paper from the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. See this link to download the data and codebook.

In addition to my book project, I am also working on state corrections spending, police militarization, officer-involved shootings, gender in American police forces, diversity in county prosecutor offices, and ban the box initiatives.

You can contact me via my LSU email, agunderson [at] lsu.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter, @annagunderson.