Research Projects


Policy Momentum and Transgender Visibility in Public Policy: Comparing Canada and Australia

Committee: Christopher Alcantara, Laura Stephenson & Nandita Biswas Mellamphy 

Transgender recognition in public policy has become more widespread across Western democracies. My dissertation project focuses specifically on explaining the variation in timing of policy adoption. Drawing on existing research that spans international norm diffusion and domestic policy diffusion, my project offers a novel framework for understanding the timing of policy change by focusing on the interaction between global and domestic levels. 

I use military policy and anti-discrimination legislation in Canada and Australia as comparative cases. Empirically, the project relies on a combination of elite interviews, media reports, archival material, and previously undisclosed government documents. Through this work, I contribute to our understanding of LBGTQ+ public policy while also providing a framework for explaining the conditions for cross-national policy change more broadly.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

McMahon, Nicole, Anthony Sayers, and Christopher Alcantara. "Political Donations and the Gender Gap during COVID-19." Party Politics


Caplan, Michelle, Nicole McMahon, and Christopher Alcantara. "Representing the Constituency: Institutional Design and Legislative Behavior." Representation.


McMahon, Nicole, Christopher Alcantara, and Laura Stephenson. 2020. “The QFE: What Is It Good For?” PS: Political Science & Politics 53(1): 94-99.



McMahon, Nicole and Christopher Alcantara. 2019. “Who runs for office and why? Political candidates and Indigenous self-government in Canada.” Politics, Groups and Identities.


Other Publications

Anthony Sayers, Nicole McMahon, and Christopher Alcantara. 2021. "The COVID-19 crisis is about physical infrastructure too." Policy Options. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy. May 5, 2021. 

Working Papers

McMahon, Nicole. “Measuring Attitudes Toward Transgender People.”

McMahon, Nicole. "Policy Momentum and Transgender Human Rights."

Girard, Tyler, Nicole McMahon, and Megan Payler. “Theorizing Norm Stagnation and the Evolution of Domestic Norm Adoption.”

Works in Progress

McMahon, Nicole. "Measuring Sub-National Opinion in Canada."