Carol Mershon headshot

Carol A. Mershon

Unit: College of Arts and Sciences
Department: Department of Politics
Office location and address
S382 Gibson Hall
1540 Jefferson Park Ave
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Ph.D. Yale University, Political Science

My research and teaching focus on the ways that institutions constrain the choices of political actors. I also explore the ways that institutions evolve and change due to actor choice. My early work as a political scientist analyzed leadership and alliances in union organizations. I have studied opinion coalitions in the judicial arena. My first single-authored book (The Costs of Coalition, Stanford 2002) and associated publications examined coalition executives in parliamentary democracies. I am currently engaged in two research projects: one on the causes and consequences of party switching among legislators (funded by the National Science Foundation); and the other, related to the first, on sources of change in democratic party systems. In all of my research, I am interested in how and why elected representatives (in the judicial research, non-elected guardians of the law) form and rupture alliances in efforts to get what they want. While many of my publications concentrate on Western Europe, my teaching and my current research include empirical evidence from the United States, Japan, Russia, and Brazil. For further details on my professional background, see my personal website.

AS-POLI Workshop: Coalition Building to Advance Diverse Leadership and Address Discrimination in Law & Social Sciences
Source: U.S. NSF - Directorate Soc., Behav. & Eco. Science
September 01, 2014 – August 31, 2017
PLAD 2500: Special Topics in Politics
Credits: 3
Special Topics in Politics
PLCP 3500: Special Topics in Comparative Politics
Credits: 3
Analysis of selected issues and concepts in comparative politics.
PLCP 4200: Comparative Legislatures
Credits: 3
Examines how and why legislators and legislative parties make the decisions they do. Compares legislative decision-making processes and outcomes in a variety of institutional settings. Prerequisite: At least two courses at the 3000 level in American politics and/or comparative politics.
PLCP 4201: Comparative Political Parties
Credits: 3
Examines political parties in a variety of institutional and socioeconomic settings, focusing on parties in the democratic political systems of Europe, the United States, and Japan.
EURS 5200: Comparative Legislatures
Credits: 3
This course focuses on questions of vital importance for democratic political life: legislators, legislative parties, and legislatures translate citizen preferences into public policy. To investigate how varying political and socioeconomic conditions affect legislatures and legislative decision-making, we compare established and new democracies in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa.
PLCP 5993: Selected Problems in Comparative Politics
Credits: 1–3
Independent study, under faculty supervision, for intensive research on a specific topic. Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
PLCP 7000: Comparative Politics Core Seminar
Credits: 3
Comparative Politics Core Seminar
PLCP 8200: Comparative Institutions
Credits: 3
Examines political institutions in democratic and authoritarian regimes. Topics include approaches to studying institutions, the state, federalism, electoral systems, executives, legislative decision-making, delegation to bureaucracies, and judicial institutions. The course also assesses efforts to integrate formal and statistical analysis. Prequisite: a graduate course in PLCP, research methods or permission of instructor.