Zachary Courser is a fellow with BPC’s Democracy Project. His research focuses on congressional reform, elections policy, and political polarization. He recent work on congressional reform focuses on the reintroduction of congressionally-directed spending, and benefits this method of appropriations brings both to individual members and local interests in their states and districts. He is also working on the empirical relationship between state-level vote access policy and turnout to inform the policy debate regarding elections laws.
As a professor and Co-Director of Claremont McKenna College’s Policy Lab, Courser has led several research partnerships with a variety of think tanks, including the Bipartisan Policy Center, RAND Corporation, American Enterprise Institute, and the Brookings Institution. His recent publications include a report for the American Enterprise Institute on the need for reinstating congressional earmarking, which was followed by a conference co-hosted by the BPC and AEI analyzing their reintroduction in fiscal year 2021. He is a contributor and editor of the volume Parchment Barriers: Political Polarization and the Limits of Constitutional Order (University Press of Kansas, 2018), the result of a year-long, multi-disciplinary research project examining the dynamics of polarization through an examination of conflicts over the American constitutional order.
Courser has professional experience working in Washington, DC, as a leadership staffer on Capitol Hill in the House of Representatives, and as a director of Claremont McKenna College’s Washington Program. He is a commentator on California and national politics on Southern California public radio. He also has experience researching and teaching aboard, having served as the Program Director and Fellow for the London-based Legatum Institute, and teaching graduate courses in American politics at Institut d’Études politiques de Lyon (Sciences Po Lyon) in France.
Courser holds a master’s and doctoral degree in government from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s in government from Claremont McKenna College. He also holds a diplôme universitaire d’études françaises from the Université Lumière Lyon 2, Centre International d’Études Françaises.