- Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs
- MPA 430
Areas of Expertise
Comparative studies of the effects of information and communication technologies (ICT) in non-Western countries; political effects of new media at home and abroad.
Before joining the SMPA faculty in 2009, Catie received her doctorate in political science from UCLA with concentrations in American Politics, Formal and Quantitative Methods and International Relations. Throughout Catie's academic career, her research has primarily focused on the intersection of politics and information and communication technologies (ICTs).
As ICTs continue to diffuse rapidly throughout the globe, opportunities abound to explore how these technologies interact with national and temporal factors to influence political attitudes, behaviors and outcomes. Moreover, taking into account the economic and political failings and inefficiencies that continue to plague many nations in these regions, there is also practical value to be derived from a clearer understanding of the potential political effects of ICT.
Catie's approach to research is multi-methodological, with a particular preference for merging cutting edge quantitative analyses with randomized field experiments. In combination, these methods provide a robust and rigorous empirical foundation for studies of media effects.
While the majority of early political communication research focused on the television's impact on electoral outcomes in the United States, Catie’s research agenda has always been focused on broadening the field by focusing on political outcomes beyond elections, beyond the American borders and media technologies beyond television. As part of this effort, Catie was the first to research the effect of mobile phones on corruption in Africa, the first to conduct a comparative analysis of the internet’s impact on democratic attitudes, the first to demonstrate empirical effects of crowdsourced election-monitoring in Africa (with colleague Steve Livingston) and the first to implement field experiments testing the effects of ICT on democratic attitudes in developing countries.
In acknowledgment of this pioneering work, Catie received the prestigious Sanders-Kaid award from the International Communication Association for best paper published in political communication in 2012. Her paper, “Testing the Internet’s Effect on Democratic Satisfaction: A Multi-Methodological, Cross-National Approach,” was chosen unanimously by the five-person committee, out of an initial pool of 300 political communication papers published in the twenty-three most prominent political science and communication journals. She was also awarded the 2015 Best Book Award by the American Political Science Association in the field of Information Technology and Politics for her book, Democracy’s Double-Edged Sword: How Internet Use Changes Citizens’ Views of their Government.
Other recent publications include a comparative analysis of the effect of Chinese media in Africa on local public opinion, the effect of mobile phones on the probability of intrastate conflict, and the effect of broadcast corporations’ bottom lines on the tenor of news produced by their respective outlets.
Catie is a fifth-generation Californian and, before moving to the District of Columbia, she was a lifelong resident of the Golden State. Born and raised in the San Francisco area, with several years in Los Angeles during her studies, Catie inherited a strong appreciation for both Southern and Northern California sports teams (much to the chagrin and confusion of many Californians)—while the 49ers, Warriors and San Francisco Giants are her first loves, she is also a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Democracy’s Double-Edged Sword: How Internet Use Changes Citizens’ Views of their Government. (2014) Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
“Information and Communication Technology and Ethnic Conflict in Myanmar: Organizing for Violence or Peace?” with Anne Bergren. (2017) Social Science Quarterly, 98(3), 894-913.
“Corporate Ownership and News Bias Revisited: Newspaper Coverage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling.” (2016) Political Communication, 33(4), 583-604.
“China in Africa: An analysis of the effect of Chinese media expansion on African public opinion.” (2016) The International Journal of Press/Politics, 21(4), 446-471. “Corporate Ownership and News Bias Revisited: Newspaper Coverage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling” (2016) Political Communication, 33(4), 583-604.
“Ethnic Conflict Goes Mobile: Mobile Technology’s Effect on the Opportunities and Motivations for Violent Collective Action. “ (2015) Journal of Peace Research, 52, 401-413.
“Crowdsourcing Accountability in a Nigerian Election” with Steven Livingston. (2014) Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 11(4), 349-367.
“Testing the Internet’s Effect on Democratic Satisfaction: A Multi-Methodological, Cross-National Approach.” (2012) Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 9: 185-204.
“A Field Experiment on the Internet’s Effect in an African Election: Savvier Citizens, Disaffected Voters, or Both?” (2012) Journal of Communication, 62(2): 330-344.
“Mobile Phone Diffusion and Corruption in Africa.” (2009). Political Communication, 26(3): 333-353.
"Information and Communication Technology, Transparency, and Accountability." (2016) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Politics.
"Public Affairs, Digital Media, and Tech Trends." The SAGE Handbook of International Corporate and Public Affairs.
Rumors and misinformation about Ebola in newspapers and social media in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone: Findings and recommendations.” (January, 2015) Report prepared for the United States Agency for International Development (with Silvio Waisbord).
“The Other Facebook Revolution: How the Internet Makes People Unhappy With Their Governments.” (November 11, 2014) Foreign Affairs.
“Taking to the streets and to the internet in Hong Kong.” (October 26, 2014) Johns Hopkins University Press Blog.
“CrowdGlobe: Meta-Level Analysis of Crowdsourced Data. Report 1: Mapping the Maps: A Meta-Level Analysis of Ushahidi & Crowdmap." (2012) Internews (with Patrick Meier, Rob Baker, and Professors Steve Livingston and Matt Hindman)
Guest blogger for political science blog, The Monkey Cage