Sean Gailmard

734 Social Sciences Building
510 642-4677
Office Hours: By appointment
Sean Gailmard's picture


Research Interests: 
Game theory & formal political theory
Principal-agent theory
Bureaucratic politics & executive branch structure
American politics
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology (2002)
M.P.A., Indiana University (1997)
B.S., Indiana University (1996)
Personal Statement: 

Professor Gailmard's curriculum vitae
Professor Gailmard's web site

Professor Gailmard studies how principal-agent problems in politics affect the structure and development of political institutions. From this perspective, his research attempts to understand the strategic foundations of American political institutions; English imperial governance in the American colonies; expertise and political responsiveness in the bureaucracy; historical development of the American executive branch; congressional control of bureaucratic discretion; the internal organization of the U.S. Congress; and electoral accountability. He has also studied models of collective decision making in laboratory experiments. 

Professor Gailmard is the author of Learning While Governing: Expertise and Accountability in the Executive Branch (2012, University of Chicago Press, with John W. Patty), which won the 2013 William H. Riker Prize (best book in political economy) and 2017 Herbert A. Simon Prize (most signfiicant contribution to public administration 5 or more years old), as well as Statistical Modeling and Inference for Social Science (2014, Cambridge University Press), a Ph.D.-level textbook. He has published research in leading social science journals, including the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and Journal of Politics.


PS231A: Quantitative Analysis in Political Research (Ph.D.)
PS232A: Formal Models in Political Science I (Intro. game theory, Ph.D.)
PS232B: Formal Models in Political Science II (Adv. game theory theory, Ph.D.)
PS239: Formal Models of Political Development (Ph.D.)
PS279: Bureaucratic Politics in the U.S. (Ph.D.)

PS3: Introduction to Empirical Analysis and Quantitative Methods (undergraduate)
PS135: Game Theory in the Social Sciences (undergraduate)


Editorial Board, Journal of Politics, Journal of Theoretical Politics, Journal of Public Policy, Public Administration Review

Co-PI and Co-director, summer institute on Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models, National Science Foundation, 2010-present

Faculty Affiliate, Institute of Governmental Studies
Faculty Affiliate, Berkeley Center for Political Economy

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