Jenkins works at the intersection of mainstream American Politics and American political history. His research focuses on the origins and development of American political institutions, notably congressional and partisan institutions, as well as the use of historical data to test contemporary theories of legislative organization and behavior. His work has been published in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Electoral Studies, The Journal of Economic History, and Studies in American Political Development.
He is the author of four books: (1) Living Legislation: Durability, Change, and the Politics of American Lawmaking (University of Chicago Press, 2012; co-edited with Eric Patashnik); (2) Fighting for the Speakership: The House and the Rise of Party Government (Princeton University Press, 2013; co-authored with Charles Stewart III); (3) The Politics of Major Policy Reform in Postwar America (Cambridge University Press, 2014; co-edited with Sidney Milkis); and (4) Congress and Policy Making in the 21st Century (Cambridge University Press, 2016; co-edited with Eric Patashnik).
He is currently the Editor in Chief of The Journal of Politics.