Robert Shaffer

Postdoctoral Associate, Political Science

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Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 2018


American politics, public law, methodology


Robert Shaffer is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. His research focuses on formal institutional design, both within and beyond the United States. Legal documents - such as laws, constitutions, or treaties - often contain institutional rules, which describe who can do what, when, and to whom. Unfortunately, dense legal texts are difficult for non-experts to interpret. In his work, he develops machine learning and natural language processing methods that extract the information contained in these documents, which he uses to study the political and policy origins of formal institutional design choices. Robert received a PhD in Government (2018) and an MS in Statistics and Data Science from the University of Texas at Austin (2016).