Jeb Barnes

Professor of Political Science
Jeb Barnes
Email Office DMC 310 Office Phone (213) 740-1689

Research & Practice Areas

Public Law, Interbranch Relations and Multi-Method Research Strategies


Before joining the faculty in 2001, Jeb Barnes graduated from the University of Chicago Law School.  As a lawyer, he clerked for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago and practiced as a commercial litigator in Boston and San Francisco.  After leaving the law, he attended graduate school at UC Berkeley, where he studied public law, public administration and American politics.  He is currently a Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, where he teaches courses on law, public policy and U.S. politics. 


At USC, he has served as interim chair, vice chair, director of graduate studies and field coordinator for American politics as well as a member of the Leadership Institute for the Center of Teaching Excellence.  He is on the editorial board of the Law & Society Review and has served on the executive councils for both the Law & Courts and Qualitative and Multi-Method Methods Sections for the American Political Science Association. He was named a USC Dornsife Distinguished Faculty Fellow in 2011.


He has published more than 50 works, including four books, two edited volumes, an interactive textbook, and numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, book reviews and opinion pieces.  His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and he has been invited to present in a variety of academic and professional settings, including Oxford, Northwestern, UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Law and Society, Boalt Hall and Political Science Department’s Research Workshop on American Politics, the Aspen Institute, Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, the Maxwell School of Public Policy, American Bar Foundation, and the Institute of Medicine in Washington, D.C.


He was one of three finalists for the Robert Foster Cherry Award in 2022-23, which is a national prize of $250,000 for teaching and research excellence.


  • Ph.D. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley, 2001
  • J.D. Law, University of Chicago Law School, 1/1989
  • M.A. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Professor Barnes’ studies the intersection between law, politics and public policy and mixed-method research strategies.

    Research Specialties

    Public Law, Interbranch Relations and Multi-Method Research Strategies

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    My primary research studies law and courts from an “interbranch perspective,” which holds that American politics and policy-making emanate from ongoing interactions among the branches and levels of government. This perspective, I argue, flows from essential features of American government. Most obviously, the U.S. Constitution disperses power among overlapping and diversely representative policy-making forums. The resulting institutional redundancy produces an array of dynamics that include direct confrontations, strategic alliances, and political games of credit claiming and blame shifting. In this system of “separated institutions sharing power,” the central task is not explaining the behavior of any single actor; it is understanding the patterns of shifting relationships among actors across policy areas and over time.

    I also publish in the growing field of mixed-method research design, which explores how to combine quantitative and qualitative research methods to study complex phenomena.

    • Finalist, Robert Foster Cherry Award, Baylor University, 2022-2023
    • • Editorial Boards, Justice Systems Journal (2018-22), Social Sciences (2020-), Law & Society Review (2023-), 2018-2023
    • (with Parker Hevro), CO-PI, “Framed? The Social Construction of Rights and Media Coverage in an Age of Judicialization” National Science Foundation, Award#: 1655281, 2017/01/24
    • USC Dornsife Distinguished Faculty Fellow, 2011-2013
    • Alpha Gamma Sigma, Professor of the Year, 2008
    • Albert S. Raubenheimer Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, USC, 2005-2006
    • USC General Education Teaching Award, 2005-2006
    • USC Political Science Outstanding Teaching Award, 2005-2006
    • Robert Wood Johnson Fellow, 2003
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