Faculty Profile

Craig Volden

Professor of Public Policy and Politics

Photo ofCraig  Volden
Garrett 203

Craig Volden is a professor of public policy and politics, with appointments in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics.  He studies legislative politics and the interaction among political institutions, with a focus on what policy choices arise from legislative-executive relations and from American federalism. 

Before joining the Batten School, Professor Volden taught at the Ohio State University, the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and Claremont Graduate University.  His major work, Revolving Gridlock, co-authored with David Brady, explores the conditions under which members of Congress are able to overcome the constraints that frequently produce policy gridlock.  He has published numerous articles in such journals as: American Political Science Review; American Journal of Political Science; Journal of Politics; Legislative Studies Quarterly; Journal of Law, Economics & Organization; and Publius: The Journal of Federalism.

His current projects include studies of innovation and policy diffusion across states and localities, an examination of business-government relations regarding product quality regulations, and an analysis of the legislative effectiveness of individual members of Congress.

Selected Recent Publications

Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers

Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman (2014). Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers. Cambridge University Press.  read more »

The Communication of Ideas across Subfields in Political Science

Volden, Craig, Erin R. Graham & Charles R. Shipan (2014). The Communication of Ideas across Subfields in Political Science. PS: Political Science and Politics. 47(2): 468-476. read more »

Who Heeds the Call of the Party in Congress?

Volden, Craig, and William Minozzi (2013). Who Heeds the Call of the Party in Congress? The Journal of Politics, Vol. 75, No. 3, Pp. 787-802. read more »



Brady, David W., and Craig Volden.  2006.  Revolving Gridlock: Politics and Policy from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush.  Boulder: Westview Press.

Related News & Events

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Leadership is unquestionably important in the political and policy world, but defining what “leadership” is and determining how it is important systematically is often difficult. In this conference, we explore the issue of leadership and how it relates to specific parts of the U.S. government, both contemporarily and across time. read more »

“Americans feel like there’s a gap between leadership and policy challenges facing politicians in Washington,” Volden said. “There’s an array of academic literature about what goes on in politics, but scholars haven’t always been explicit about leadership in their studies. So for this conference, we asked scholars to talk about the political institutions they know best, but also to gear their work toward a better understanding of leadership within those institutions.” read more »

RAYMOND C. SCHEPPACH, professor of the practice of public policy at the U.Va. Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, and former executive director of the National Governors Association, will be joined by BILL LEIGHTY, former chief-of-staff to Governor Mark Warner, for a broad ranging discussion of gubernatorial leadership. read more »

"Based on scoring all lawmaking activities in the House of Representatives, women in the minority party are one third more effective than men in the minority party," said Craig Volden, a public policy and politics professor at the University of Virginia who, along with his team, examined the sponsorship of bills from 1973 to 2008. read more »

Volden and his team looked at every bill introduced in the House between 1973 and 2008. Bills introduced by women in the minority party generally went farther than bills offered by men. "Minority women are about one-third more effective — so about 33 percent more effective than men," Volden says. read more »

"While I am honored to [receive] a teaching award, the award that I hold most dear is the opportunity to continue teaching such terrific students on a daily basis.” read more »

The authors of a study published in the American Journal of Political Science, “When Are Women More Effective Lawmakers Than Men?” found that “while men may choose to obstruct and delay, women continue to strive to build coalitions and bring about new policies.” read more »