Richard Barton

Graduate Student


I am a PhD Candidate (currently on the job market) in American Politics, with a minor in Quantitative Research Methods. I study the effects of party institutions on governance and the American Political Economy. My research is generously supported by the Dirksen Center for Congressional Research. 

Research Focus

My research examines how party institutions shape the character of governance and the American political economy. In my dissertation, I analyze the development of the Democratic Party’s position on economic regulation from the New Deal to the Great Recession of 2008. I demonstrate that from the New Deal to the 1960s the Democratic Party largely maintained its commitment to protect regionally dominant banks and businesses, while constraining the concentration of economic power among the nation’s largest firms. However, during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Democratic Party pivoted on economic regulation by moving closer to the Republican position, and largely maintained this more neoliberal position up to the Great Recession of 2008. While extant research largely attributes economic inequality to the Republican Party, I demonstrate that the Democratic Party’s initiated the retrenchment of regulatory policies that constrained the concentration of economic power, and thereby played a crucial role in exacerbating individual and geographic inequality, and the growing market share of the nation’s largest firms.