David M. Primo

Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor

Associate Professor of Political Science and Business Administration

Director of Graduate Studies, Political Science

University of Rochester

Dept. of Political Science

Harkness Hall 318

Rochester, NY 14627-0146


Fax 585.271.1616




Vita (updated November 2013)



“Public Financing No Cure-All,” an Op-ed Reacting to the Moreland Commission Report

          Read it here. 


“Against Disclosure,” a New York Times Op-ed On Corporate Disclosure

          Read it here. 


Amicus Brief in Iowa Right to Life, Inc. v. Tooker

Jeff Milyo and I have filed an amicus brief in Iowa Right to Life, Inc. v. Tooker to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to take social-science evidence seriously when considering the constitutionality of campaign finance laws.  Download the brief.  Read the press release.


Coming Soon

Risky Business?  Corporate Political Spending, Shareholder Approval, and Stock Volatility (with Saumya Prabhat)


Recent Research

Corporate Social Responsibility

Using Item Response Theory to Improve Measurement in Strategic Management Research: An Application to Corporate Social Responsibility  (with Rob Carroll and Brian Richter)


Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws

Policy Report: Full Disclosure:  How Campaign Disclosure Laws Fail to Inform Voters and Stifle Public Debate

Forbes Op-ed: It’s Time to Bring Some Sanity to Campaign Finance Laws

Academic Paper:   Information at the Margin:  Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws, Ballot Issues, and Voter Knowledge

Judicial Appointments

A Dynamic Model of Judicial Appointments (with Jinhee Jo and Yoji Sekiya)


2012 Op-eds

Roll Call Op-ed on Campaign Finance Disclosure and Congress

Read it here.

Wall Street Journal Op-ed on Corruption

Read it here (gated—e-mail me if you would like a copy but are not a WSJ subscriber).


New York Times Op-ed on “Physics Envy” in the Social Sciences

Read it here, then read my recent book on the subject.


Los Angeles Times Op-ed on the Federal Budget

Read it here.




A Model Discipline:

Political Science and the Logic of Representations

Co-authored with Kevin A. Clarke

2012, Oxford University Press


Read the New York Times op-ed based on the book




Rules and Restraint:

Government Spending and the Design of Institutions

2007, University of Chicago Press

Winner, 2008 Alan Rosenthal Prize, APSA Legislative Studies Section

            Related Op-eds

            Short-Term Budget Thinking by Rs and Ds (RealClearMarkets.com)

            Define Radical:  Pros and Cons of Ryan Plan (RealClearMarkets.com)

            Constitution Is Only Way to Cut U.S. Deficit (Bloomberg News)

            Time for a New Constitutional Convention? (Roll Call)      



The Plane Truth:

Airline Crashes, the Media, and Transportation Policy

With Roger W. Cobb, Brookings Institution Press, 2003

Featured on NBC’s Today Show, December 22, 2005

Related Publication: Op-ed in USA Today on the politics of airline safety





Selected Published Articles


Bankruptcy Law, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Performance

            Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 2011, with Bill Green


Party Strength, the Personal Vote, and Government Spending

            American Journal of Political Science, April 2010, with Jim Snyder


The Effect of Initiatives on Local Government Spending

            Journal of Theoretical Politics, January 2010 (e-mail me for pdf of published article)


Who Consents?  Competing Pivots in Federal Judicial Selection

            American Journal of Political Science, July 2008,

            with Sarah Binder and Forrest Maltzman


Distributive Politics and the Law of 1/n

Journal of Politics, April 2008, with Jim Snyder


Modernizing Political Science:  A Model-Based Approach

Perspectives on Politics, December 2007, with Kevin Clarke


Estimating the Impact of State Policies and Institutions with Mixed-Level Data

            State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Winter 2007, with Matt Jacobsmeier and Jeff Milyo


A Comment on Baron and Ferejohn (1989): The Open Rule Equilibrium and Coalition Formation 

Public Choice, January 2007


Stop Us Before We Spend Again:  Institutional Constraints on Government Spending

Economics & Politics, November 2006


Campaign Finance Laws and Political Efficacy:  Evidence From the States

Election Law Journal, March 2006, with Jeff Milyo

Related Publication: Op-ed in Roll Call


Rethinking Political Bargaining:  Policymaking With a Single Proposer

            Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, October 2002


Budgetary Reform and Formal Modeling:  A Comment on Gabel and Hager

            Public Choice, October 2002


Public Opinion and Campaign Finance:  Reformers Versus Reality

            Independent Review, Fall 2002


Corporate PAC Campaign Contributions in Perspective

            Business and Politics, 2000, with Jeff Milyo and Tim Groseclose