Professor Dougherty specializes in the institutional design of American politics, ranging from studies of the properties of various voting rules and assembly sizes, on the one hand, to explanations for why certain institutions were included in the U.S. Constitution, on the other. His research has been published by journals such as the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, and Economic Inquiry, to name a few. His first book, published by Cambridge University Press, examines collective action problems under the Articles of Confederation and why states complied with requisitions without an enforcement mechanism. His second book, published by Springer Press, uses computer modeling and deductive techniques to carefully reexamine a classic work on voting rules and constitutional design. Dougherty has received three grants from the National Science Foundation to support his research and Public Choice, the journal, has honored him with the Gordon Tullock award for best paper by a younger scholar for this research.
Professor Dougherty is also co-director of the Constitutional Convention Research Group (CCRG) which has recovered delegate votes from the Constitutional Convention using statements they made in debate, the explicit rule that a state’s vote was based on the vote of a majority of its delegates, and the positions gleaned from manuscripts and select outside sources. He is also founder of the American Founding Group, which meets monthly to discuss classic and contemporary works on the American founding.