Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching ProfessorProfessor of Political Science

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Website

Keith Dougherty specializes in the institutional design of American politics, both the implications of various political institutions and why they were created. His study of their implications includes determining the probability that voting rules, assembly sizes, and quorum requirements adhere to a normative criterion, or sets of criteria, when individual preferences are unknown — part of the field of social choice. His study of the creation of institutions includes exploring the framers’ motivation for adopting the U.S. Constitution. The results of his research have been published by Cambridge University Press, the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics, to name a few.

  • Ph.D, University of Maryland, 1997, Government and Politics
  • MA, University of Maryland, 1992, Government and Politics
  • BA, Tulane University, 1988, Political Economy
More About

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.

Areas of Expertise
  • American Political History
  • Constitutional Design
  • American Founding
  • Social Choice
Honors, Awards, and Achievements


  • Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2024
  • University of Georgia Creative Teaching Award, 2022
  • Member of the University of Georgia Teaching Academy, 2022-present
  • Lothar Tresp Outstanding Honors Professor Award, Honors College, 2016
  • Teaching Award, School of Public and International Affairs, 2015
  • Outstanding Professor Award, UGA Student Government Association, 2014


  • Research Award, School of Public and International Affairs, 2014
  • Gordon Tullock Prize for best article in Public Choice by younger scholars, 2008
  • Fulbright Scholarship, Tomsk State University, Russia, 1998-1999 (declined)

Major Grants

  • National Science Foundation, SES-1154920 ($22,963) for “The American
    Constitution: A Conference on the 225th Anniversary of the Ratification,” with
    Keith Poole and Peter Hoffer, 2012-2013
  • National Science Foundation, SES-0752098 ($205,000) for “Delegate Voting at the Constitutional Convention,” with Jac Heckelman, 2008-2010
  • National Science Foundation, SES-0418254 ($71,000) for “American Founding: Motivations of the Framers at the Constitutional Convention,” with Jac Heckelman, 2004-2005
Course Instruction
  • POLS 1101H – Introduction to American Government Honors
  • POLS 4070 – Game Theory
  • POLS 4071 – Social Choice and Elections
  • POLS 4040 – American Political Thought
  • POLS 8000 – Introduction to Rational Choice
  • POLS 8030 – Spatial Voting Theory
Research Interests
  • American Political History
  • Social Choice
Selected Publications


  • The Calculus of Consent and Constitutional Design, with Julian Edward, New York: Springer, 2011.
  • Collective Action under the Articles of Confederation, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.


  • “Borda count in a forward agenda,” with Robi Ragan, Public Choice, (forthcoming).
  • “When ties are possible: Weak Condorcet winners and Arrovian rationality,” with Mostapha Diss and Jac Heckelman, Mathematical Social Sciences, 2023, 123 (May): 128-136.
  • “Congressional apportionment and the Fourteenth Amendment,” with Grace Pittman, Public Choice, 2022, 192(1): 115-126
  • “The effect of unconditional preferences on Sen’s paradox,” with Julian Edward, Theory and Decision, 2022, 93(3), 427-447.
  • “The Probability of Violating Arrow’s Conditions,” with Jac Heckelman, European Journal of Political Economy, 2020, 65(C), 1010936.
  • “Creating Parties in Congress: The Emergence of a Social Network,” Political Research Quarterly, 2020, 73(4): 759-773.
  • “Slavery in the Constitution: Why the Lower South Occasionally Succeeded at the Constitutional Convention,” Political Research Quarterly, 2020, 73(3): 638-650.
  • “Stopping Rules for Majority Voting: A Public Choice Experiment,” with Alice Kisaalita, Jordan McKissick, and Evan Katz, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization,
  • “Coalitional Instability and the Three-Fifths Compromise,” with Gordon Ballingrud, American Journal of Political Science, 2018, 62(4): 861-72.
  • “The Consistency of James Madison’s Politics,” with Robert Cooper, American Political Thought, 2017, 6(2), 201-227.
  • “The Value of Formalism: Re-Examining External Costs and Decision Costs with Multiple Groups,” with Julian Edward and Robi Ragan, Public Choice, 2015, 163(1-2): 31-52.
  • “Partisan Agenda Control and the Dimensionality of Congress,” with Michael Lynch and Tony Madonna, American Politics Review, 2014, 42(4): 600-27.
  • “An Experimental Study of the Efficiency of Unanimity Rule and Majority Rule,” with Brian Pitts, Justin Moeller, and Robi Ragan, Public Choice, 2014, 158(3-4): 359-82.
  • “A Spatial Analysis of Delegate Voting at the Constitutional Convention,” with Jac Heckelman, Journal of Economic History, 2013, 73(2): 407-444.
  • “Constitutional Change and American Pivotal Politics,” with Justin Moeller, American Political Research, 2012, 40(6): 1092-1120.
  • “A New Dataset of Delegate Positions on all Substantive Roll Calls at the U.S. Constitutional Convention,” with Jac Heckelman, Paul Carlsen, and David Gelman, Historical Methods, 2012, 45(3): 135-141.
  • “Voting for Pareto Optimality: a multidimensional analysis,” with Julian Edward, Public Choice, 2012, 151 (3): 655-78.
  • “Majority Rule versus Supermajority Rules: Their Effects on Narrow and Broad Taxes,” with Jac Heckelman, Public Finance Review, 2010, 38 (6): 738-61.
  • “The Properties of Simple vs. Absolute Majority Rule: Cases where Absences and Abstentions are Important,” with Julian Edward, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2010, 22 (1): 85-122.
  • “Personalty Interests at the Constitutional Convention: New Tests of the Beard Thesis,” with Jac Heckelman, Cliometrica, 2010, 4 (2): 207-28.
  • “Odd or Even: Assembly Size and Majority Rule,” with Julian Edward, Journal of Politics, 2009, 71(2): 733-47.
  • “An Empirical Test of Federalist and Anti-Federalist Theories of State Contributions, 1775-1783,” Social Science History, 2009, 33(1): 47-74.
  • “Voting on Slavery at the Constitutional Convention,” with Jac Heckelman, Public Choice, 2008, 136 (3-4): 293-313 – awarded the Gordon Tullock Prize for best article of the year by younger scholar(s).
  • “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 Revisited,” with Jac Heckelman, The Journal of Economic History, 2007, 67(4): 829-48.
  • “A Pivotal Voter from a Pivotal State: Roger Sherman at the Constitutional convention,” with Jac Heckelman, American Political Science Review, 2006, 100(2): 297-302.
  • “A Non-Equilibrium Analysis of Unanimity Rule, Majority Rule, and two Pareto Concepts,” with Julian Edward, Economic Inquiry, 2005, 43(4): 855-64.
  • “The Pareto efficiency and expected costs of k-majority rules” with Julian Edward, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, 2004, 3(2): 161-89.
  • “Public Goods Theory: eighteenth century political philosophy to twentieth century economics,” Public Choice, 2003, 117: 239-53.
  • “Suppressing Shays’ Rebellion: Collective Action and Constitutional Design under the Articles of Confederation,” with Michael Cain, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1999, 11(2): 233-60.
  • “Marginal cost sharing and the Articles of Confederation,” with Michael Cain, Public Choice, 1997, 90: 201-13. Reprinted in Charles Rowley ed., Constitutional Political Economy in a Public Choice Perspective. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishing, 1997.