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 was published with Oxford University Press in 2022 (order 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 projects on interests groups and social media, gender in American police forces, ban the box initiatives, state clemency and pardon policies, and police department use of social media.
You can contact me via my LSU email, agunderson [at] lsu.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter, @annagunderson.