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Renowned political scientist Richard L. Hall to retire from the University of Michigan

April 1, 2024

After 39 years at the University of Michigan, political science and public policy professor Richard L. Hall will retire on June 30, 2024.

“Rick is an outstanding scholar and an excellent teacher and mentor who has helped guide countless numbers of graduates. He has inspired and influenced several generations of researchers and policy practitioners about the Congressional influence and interest groups. I congratulate him on a distinguished career and have greatly appreciated his contributions to the Ford School,” said Celeste Watkins-Hayes, the Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of the Ford School of Public Policy.

Professor Hall was the recipient of the prestigious Barbara Sinclair Lecture Award in 2020 for career contributions to the study of the U.S. Congress and legislative politics. His work on Congress shifted the research agenda on legislative behavior from the study of representatives’ roll-call decisions, the sole moment at which legislators are equal and majorities rule, to the ways in which individual legislators achieve disproportionate influence by concentrating the work of their office on policies affecting their most vocal constituents. This work provided a new perspective on legislative institutions and the inequitable practice of representation. His book on the topic, Participation in Congress (Yale University Press, 1996) was awarded the American Political Science Association Richard F. Fenno, Jr. Prize.

Hall developed a theory of lobbying fundamentally different from the canon in political science. His 2006 article, “Lobbying as Legislative Subsidy,” published by the American Political Science Review, is the most cited paper on lobbying ever written and was awarded the Jack L. Walker Award. He is currently finishing a book on the topic, Insidious Influence: Lobbyists and Their Allies on Capitol Hill (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming).  For his research on interest groups, Hall won the Samuel J. Eldersveld Career Achievement Award for the study of political parties and organizations.

During his tenure at U-M, Hall has taught a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses on legislative politics, the politics of policy analysis, policy advocacy, campaign finance reform, and the politics of health policy. He also served on 46 dissertation committees. In 2021, he won the American Political Science Association’s mentorship award for mentorship in Public Policy.

“Rick’s work with graduate students has been transformative," said Department of Political Science Chair, Nancy Burns.

Burns reached out to several students whose dissertations committees Hall chaired. “Their comments about Rick illustrate his impact on his students’ lives,” she said.

Molly Reynolds, senior fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, said, “Everyone should be so lucky to find an advisor and collaborator as good in both roles as Rick; he continually trained me at doing research while also encouraging me not to lose focus on the substantive issues and questions that had drawn me to political science. Perhaps most importantly, though, he demonstrated continual care about and support for me as a person, reminding me that work is only one part of a rich and full life.” 

Susan Moffitt, professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown, said, “Rick embodies the rare combination of outstanding scholarship, creative questions, and steadfast dedication to his students.” 

Kristina Miler, professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland, said,”It is near impossible to articulate the impact that Rick–as a scholar, mentor, and friend–has had on my own career, and on the field of legislative studies. He combines a passion for the broad theoretical questions with sharp attention to the details of research, embraces both the numbers and the story of the data, and doesn't shy away from asking important and tough questions while modeling kindness, generosity and a healthy dose of humor that we all need in our lives.”   

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