American Journal of Political Science

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1540-5907
Print ISSN: 0092-5853
In this paper, we test three hypotheses--community preferences, incentives and disincentives, and organizational norms--that past research identifies as possible explanations of variation in hospital abortion policies after Roe v. Wade (1973). Testing the hypotheses separately suggests that all three types of variables are related to hospital abortion policies, but when the hypotheses are tested together as competing explanations, only organizational norms exert a significant impact. Although certain types of hospitals are more responsive to external considerations than others, organizational norms are the most important in every type.
Public agencies have discretion on the time domain, and politicians deploy numerous policy instruments to constrain it. Yet little is known about how administrative procedures that affect timing also affect the quality of agency decisions. We examine whether administrative deadlines shape decision timing and the observed quality of decisions. Using a unique and rich dataset of FDA drug approvals that allows us to examine decision timing and quality, we find that this administrative tool induces a piling of decisions before deadlines, and that these “just-before-deadline” approvals are linked with higher rates of postmarket safety problems (market withdrawals, severe safety warnings, safety alerts). Examination of data from FDA advisory committees suggests that the deadlines may impede quality by impairing late-stage deliberation and agency risk communication. Our results both support and challenge reigning theories about administrative procedures, suggesting they embody expected control-expertise trade-offs, but may also create unanticipated constituency losses.
One of the most prominent claims to emerge from the field of public opinion is that citizens can vote for candidates whose issue positions best reflect their own beliefs even when they cannot remember previously learned stances associated with the candidates. The current experiment provides a unique and powerful examination of this claim by determining whether individuals with profound amnesia, whose severe memory impairments prevent them from remembering specific issue information associated with any particular candidate, can vote for candidates whose issue positions come closest to their own political views. We report here that amnesic patients, despite not being able to remember any issue information, consistently voted for candidates with favored political positions. Thus, sound voting decisions do not require recall or recognition of previously learned associations between candidates and their issue positions. This result supports a multiple memory systems model of political decision making.
We consider the consequences of the Senate electoral cycle and bicameralism for distributive politics, introducing the concept of contested credit claiming, i.e. that members of a state's House and Senate delegations must share the credit for appropriations that originate in their chamber with delegation members in the other chamber. Using data that isolates appropriations of each chamber, we test a model of the strategic incentives contested credit claiming creates. Our empirical analysis indicates that the Senate electoral cycle induces a back-loading of benefits to the end of senatorial terms, but that the House blunts this tendency with countercyclical appropriations. Our analysis informs our understanding of appropriations earmarking, and points a way forward in studying the larger consequences of bicameral legislatures.
Evidence that political attitudes and behavior are in part biologically and even genetically instantiated is much discussed in political science of late. Yet the classic twin design, a primary source of evidence on this matter, has been criticized for being biased toward finding genetic influence. In this article, we employ a new data source to test empirically the alternative, exclusively environmental, explanations for ideological similarities between twins. We find little support for these explanations and argue that even if we treat them as wholly correct, they provide reasons for political science to pay more rather than less attention to the biological basis of attitudes and behaviors. Our analysis suggests that the mainstream socialization paradigm for explaining attitudes and behaviors is not necessarily incorrect but is substantively incomplete.
The assumption in the personality and politics literature is that a person's personality motivates them to develop certain political attitudes later in life. This assumption is founded on the simple correlation between the two constructs and the observation that personality traits are genetically influenced and develop in infancy, whereas political preferences develop later in life. Work in psychology, behavioral genetics, and recently political science, however, has demonstrated that political preferences also develop in childhood and are equally influenced by genetic factors. These findings cast doubt on the assumed causal relationship between personality and politics. Here we test the causal relationship between personality traits and political attitudes using a direction of causation structural model on a genetically informative sample. The results suggest that personality traits do not cause people to develop political attitudes; rather, the correlation between the two is a function of an innate common underlying genetic factor.
DIF in DIF: Anticipation of Monitors' Behavior 
Communities often rely on sanctioning to induce public goods contributions. Past studies focus on how external agencies or peer sanctioning induce cooperation. In this article, we focus instead on the role played by centralized authorities, internal to the community. Combining "lab-in-the-field" experiments with observational data on 1,541 Ugandan farmers from 50 communities, we demonstrate the positive effect of internal centralized sanctioning authorities on cooperative behavior. We also show that the size of this effect depends on the political process by which authority is granted: subjects electing leaders contribute more to public goods than subjects who were assigned leaders through a lottery. To test the ecological validity of our findings, we relate farmers' behavior in the experiment to their level of cooperation in their community organization. We show that deference to authority in the controlled setting predicts cooperative behavior in the farmers' natural environment, in which they face a similar social dilemma.
People categorize themselves and others, creating ingroup and outgroup distinctions. In American politics, parties constitute the in- and outgroups, and party leaders hold sway in articulating party positions. A party leader's endorsement of a policy can be persuasive, inducing co-partisans to take the same position. In contrast, a party leader's endorsement may polarize opinion, inducing out-party identifiers to take a contrary position. Using survey experiments from the 2008 presidential election, I examine whether in- and out-party candidate cues—John McCain and Barack Obama—affected partisan opinion. The results indicate that in-party leader cues do not persuade but that out-party leader cues polarize. This finding holds in an experiment featuring President Bush in which his endorsement did not persuade Republicans but it polarized Democrats. Lastly, I compare the effect of party leader cues to party label cues. The results suggest that politicians, not parties, function as polarizing cues.
Public opinion concerning social welfare is largely driven by perceptions of recipient deservingness. Extant research has argued that this heuristic is learned from a variety of cultural, institutional, and ideological sources. The present article provides evidence supporting a different view: that the deservingness heuristic is rooted in psychological categories that evolved over the course of human evolution to regulate small-scale exchanges of help. To test predictions made on the basis of this view, a method designed to measure social categorization is embedded in nationally representative surveys conducted in different countries. Across the national- and individual-level differences that extant research has used to explain the heuristic, people categorize welfare recipients on the basis of whether they are lazy or unlucky. This mode of categorization furthermore induces people to think about large-scale welfare politics as its presumed ancestral equivalent: small-scale help giving. The general implications for research on heuristics are discussed.
The war-weariness hypothesis and other hypotheses of negative addictive contagion assert that war induces in its participants an inhibition against subsequent war for several years. These national-level hypotheses are tested empirically by examining the addictive effects of wars between the great powers over the period 1500-1975. The findings are consistent over a variety of indicators of contagion: there is no empirical support for negative addiction hypotheses. A great power war does not reduce the likelihood of a subsequent war involvement by one of its participating powers, and the distribution of elapsed time between wars is consistent with an exponential distribution derived from the null hypothesis of no contagion. The likelihood of a second war is unaffected by the seriousness of the first war, and general wars have no distinctive contagion effects. Nor does the frequency of great power wars in one period affect the frequency of wars in the following period. Finally, there is no evidence that these patterns of contagion change over the five-century span of the modern system.
Welfare policy in the American states has been shaped profoundly by race, ethnicity, and representation. Does gender matter as well? Focusing on state welfare reform in the mid-1990s, we test hypotheses derived from two alternative approaches to incorporating gender into the study of representation and welfare policymaking. An additive approach, which assumes gender and race/ethnicity are distinct and independent, suggests that female state legislators—regardless of race/ethnicity—will mitigate the more restrictive and punitive aspects of welfare reform, much like their African American and Latino counterparts do. In contrast, an intersectional approach, which highlights the overlapping and interdependent nature of gender and race/ethnicity, suggests that legislative women of color will have the strongest countervailing effect on state welfare reform—stronger than that of other women or men of color. Our empirical analyses suggest an intersectional approach yields a more accurate understanding of gender, race/ethnicity, and welfare politics in the states.
One way in which parties in the U.S. House of Representatives might affect legislative outcomes is if they pressure some of their members into voting the party line, when those members would prefer not to. How well do traditional measures of party voting, such as the Rice index of party difference, reflect party pressure? All traditional measues sufer from a significant and well-known problem--namely, they increase in size not only when parties devote more resources to influencing their members' votes but also when preferences within parties simply become more homogeneous. In this paper we disentangle these effects within a simple multidimensional spatial model of voting.
Theory: Contemporary theories of presidential election outcomes, especially the economic voting and spatial issue voting models, are used to examine voter choice in the 1996 presidential election. Hypotheses: First, we look at the effects of voter perceptions of the national economy onvoter support for Clinton. Second we look at the effects of candidate and voter positions on ideology and on a number of issues. Last, we examine whether respondents' views on other issues - social issues such as abortion as well as issues revolving around entitlements and taxation that were emphasized by the campaigns - played significant roles in this election. Methods: Multinomial probit analysis of the 1996 National Election Studies data; simulations based on counterfactual scenarios based on different macroeconomic conditions and different issue platforms of candidates. Results: The effects of economic perceptions are much greater than the effects of voter issue positions on the election outcome. Some social issues, namely abortion, did play a role in determining the election outcome. The presence of a third centrist candidate limited the ability of other candidates to improve their vote shares by moving in the issue space.
This paper examines the importance of electoral rules for legislators' behavior. The German electoral system includes a mechanism which assigns whether legislators are elected under the "first-past-the-post" (FPTP), or the proportional representation (PR) electoral rule. Using this institution, we identify the effect of electoral rules on legislators' behavior and disentangle whether so-called pork barrel politics are due to political climate in a country or due to the electoral rule employed. We find significant differences in committee membership, depending whether the legislator is elected though FPTP or PR. legislators elected through FPTP system are members of committees that allows them to service their geographically based constituency. Legislators elected through PR are members of committees that service the party constituencies, which are not necessarily geographically based.
Theory: A simple rational entry argument suggests that the value of incumbency consists not just of a direct effect, reflecting the value of resources (such as staff) attached to legislative office, but also of an indirect effect, reflecting the fact that stronger challengers are less likely to contest incumbent-held seats. The indirect effect is the product of a scare-off effect-the ability of incumbents to scare off high-quality challengers-and a quality effect-reflecting how much electoral advantage a party accrues when it has an experienced rather than an inexperienced candidate. Hypothesis: The growth of the overall incumbency advantage was driven principally by increases in the quality effect. Methods: We use a simple two-equation model, estimated by ordinary least-squares regression, to analyze U.S. House election data from 1948 to 1990. Results: Most of the increase in the incumbency advantage, at least down to 1980, came through increases in the quality effect (i.e., the advantage to the incumbent party of having a low-quality challenger). This suggests that the task for those wishing to explain the growth in the vote-denominated incumbency advantage is to explain why the quality effect grew. It also suggests that resource-based explanations of the growth in the incumbency advantage cannot provide a full explanation.
Macroeconomic conditions clearly exert an impact on the electoral fortunes of the governing party, but little agreement exists about the microlevel mechanisms that underlie the aggregate relationships. In particular, efforts to base the aggregate findings on the financial fortunes of individual voters have proved fruitless. Hibbing and Alford suggest, however, that previous studies failed to differentiate among three types of in-party candidates--incumbents, open-seat candidates, and challengers of out-party incumbents--and that only in the first category should we find individual voters holding the in-party responsible. The strongest support for the argument is an analysis of 1978 survey data. This article replicates the Hibbing-Alford findings for 1978 using a different methodology and provides additional analyses from five more election studies. In all, four of six elections yield a pattern of coefficients broadly consistent with the Hibbing-Alford thesis, but in only two elections--both presidential election years surprisingly enough--are the results on solid statistical ground.
After analyzing (1) data aggregated to the congressional district level, and (2) individual-level data from the 1978 CPS election survey, Johannes and McAdams conclude that congressional casework has no electoral impact. The following commentary explains such null findings as the product of oversimplistic expectations and methodological weaknesses. Specifically, the Johannes and McAdams aggregate data analysis is misspecified on two counts. First, it attempts to reduce to a single regression equation a temporal sequence in which casework activity and electoral outcomes are mutually intertwined. Second, even were such a drastic reduction possible, the single equation employed would be poorly specified because of inattention to the differential productivity of cases, constituents, and representatives. The individual-level analysis also is rife with statistical problems chief among which is multicollinearity aggravated by small numbers of cases. Analyses that do what is possible to minimize such problems reveal a statistically and substantively significant impact of casework on electoral outcomes. Further analyses that go beyond the Johannes and McAdams limitation of casework effects to the individuals directly helped suggest that the electoral effects of an incumbent's reputation for service may approach the effects of party identification.
Theory: The variability in individual respondent's considerations over racial policy may be due to uncertainty or to ambivalence. Ambivalence is distinct from uncertainty in that it stems from incommensurable choices, and cannot be altered with additional information. Methods: Using a heteroskedastic probit technique, we consider six separate core beliefs potentially relevant towards racial policy choice (modern racism, antiblack stereotyping, authoritarianism, individualism, and anti-Semitism) for four different policy choices. We evaluate two separate models for the source of individual variance: conflicting values and direct effects of values. Results: Our analysis indicates that modern racism trumps rival explanatory variables in explanations of racial policy choice, and that variability in attitudes toward racial policy is due to uncertainty, and not to ambivalence.
A number of recent studies examine the traditional hypothesis that the electoral fortunes of the incumbent president's party rise and fall in direct relation to fluctuations in the state of the national economy. Typically these studies employ a longitudinal design in which a party's aggregate congressional vote serves as the dependent variable, and various economic indicators serve as independent variables. On balance, the election returns appear to bear some relation to economic conditions, although various disagreements exist. Using data from the 1956 to 1974 SRC election studies this paper attempts to uncover an individual-level basis for the macro-relationship found by earlier studies. Specifically, do citizens vote for or against the incumbent president's party as a function of their personal economic condition? The survey data permit us to conclude that a citizen's personal economic condition affects his presidential vote. For congressional voting, however, the findings are positive until 1960 and negative thereafter. And contrary to some previous research, we find no systematic relationship between a citizen's personal economic condition and his decision to vote or abstain.
Individuals who vote in one election are also more likely to vote in the next. Modelling the causal relationship between past and current voting decisions however is intrinsically difficult, as this positive association can exist due to habit formation or unobserved heterogeneity. This paper overcomes this problem using longitudinal data from the British National Child Development Study (NCDS) to examine voter turnout across three elections. It distinguishes between unobserved heterogeneity caused by fixed individual characteristics and the initial conditions problem, which occurs when voting behaviour in a previous, but unobserved, period influences current voting behaviour. It finds that controlling for fixed effects unobserved heterogeneity has little impact on the estimated degree of habit in voter turnout, however failing to control for initial conditions reduces the estimate by a half. The results imply that voting in one election increases the probability of voting in a subsequent election by 13%.
Once wars begin, how and when do they end? While wars can and do end in the military defeat of one side, they also often end in negotiated settlements. Our explanations for war termination, however, have tended to rule out the possibility that diplomacy can continue even after the fighting starts and therefore cannot account for negotiated settlements of war. In this article, we develop a model that allows the disputants to negotiate a settlement not only to prevent a war bat to terminate it as well. We focus particularly on private information as a key source of conflict and the revelation of that information as a central component of the process of conflict termination. The model generates several novel and interesting hypotheses related to war outcome and war duration. In addition, since the model also includes the decision to begin a war as well as the decision to continue it, the model suggests several hypotheses related to war onset.
The business cycles theories of Wicksell (1898), Schumpeter (1912), Mises (1912), Hayek (1929, 1935) and Minsky (1986, 1992) explain business cycles by distorted prices on capital markets, buoyant credit expansion and overinvestment. The exuberance during the boom endogenously causes the subsequent slump. While these theories put the emphasis on explaining the emergence of the cycle, this paper focuses on the macroeconomic policy responses during and after the crisis, when panic tightens credit supply. The paper allows an assessment of the long-term consequences of an asymmetric monetary and fiscal policy response to financial crisis.
We investigate the extent to which possession of the veto allows the president to influence congressional decisions regarding regular annual appropriations legislation. The most important implication of our analysis is that the influence the veto conveys is asymmetrical: it allows the president to restrain Congress when he prefers to appropriate less to an agency than Congress does; it does not provide him an effective means of extracting higher appropriations from Congress when he prefers to spend more than it does. This asymmetry derives from constitutional limitations on the veto, in combination with the presence of a de facto reversionary expenditure level contained inthe appropriations process (Fenno, 1966). We find strong support for this proposition in a regression of presidential requests upon congressional appropriations decisions.
Political actors in settings of bargaining and conflict often find themselves uncertain about the motives of their counterparts. This paper explores the psychology of motive assessment using a novel experimental design involving imperfect-information versions of the ultimatum and dictator bargaining games. Subjects are randomly assigned to one of three roles { the traditional proposer and recipient roles in these games, and a novel impartial observer role. Recipients and observers are given identical, but ambiguous, information about proposers' offers, and make post-play assessments of proposers' intentions that are rewarded based on accuracy. When uncertainty is sufficiently high, recipients' assessments of proposers' intentions are significantly lower than observers' assessments in the ultimatum game, in stark contrast to Bayesian predictions, but there is no evidence of any difference in the dictator game. The results suggest that individuals' perceptions can be directly affected by the set of strategic alternatives they possess, independent of access to information. One interpretation is that the power to accept or reject may prime individuals to be more critical or negative in forming assessments than they otherwise would be. If correct, this interpretation has important implications for theories of bargaining and con?ict, and for the design of institutions for conflict resolution.
An important, but largely unexplored, class of bargaining problems involve two negotiators, who send signals to a third party. Such problems are especially common in politics, where elected officials must worry about approval from voters and sovereign leaders in international negotiations must appeal to domestic politicians and voters. The signaling incentives of the negotiators significantly influence (i) the proposals that they offer and (ii) their decisions to accept of reject their opponent's proposal. For instance, consider the case upon which we focus: Congress makes a take-it-or-leave-it offer (a bill) to the president, who either accepts or rejects (signs or vetoes) it. A third party, a set of voters, is uninformed about the president's preferences; however, by observing the bill that Congress writes and the president's veto decision, they can learn about these preferences. In our model the president wants to appear moderate to voters, while Congress wants him to appear extreme. As a consequence, Congress sometimes writes a bill that it knows the president will veto, instead of writing a compromising bill that they both prefer to the status quo. Thus, despite Congress and the president being completely informed, the presence of an uniformed third party causes the outcome to be Pareto inefficient. The model generates many empirical implications, and we test one of these - that the president's approval should tend to drop after a veto. Data from 1956 to 1992 strongly support the hypothesis. A veto of a major bill causes the president's approval to drop approximately two percentage points - approximately doubt the effect of a one-percentage- point drop in GDP.
Misreporting is a problem that plagues researchers that use survey data. In this paper, we give conditions under which misreporting will lead to incorrect inferences. We then develop a model that corrects for misreporting using some auxiliary information, usually from an earlier or pilot validation study. This correction is implemented via Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, which allows us to correct for other problems in surveys, such as non-response. This correction will allow researchers to continue to use the non-validated data to make inferences. The model, while fully general, is developed in the context of estimating models of turnout from the American National Elections Studies (ANES) data.
Normative concerns are central to the study of democratic theory and the policy- relevant areas of political science and economics. The same normative concerns are central to the study of axiomatic social choice theory. Despite similarities in origin and in underlying philosophical orientation, the fields have evolved separately and within different methodologies. This paper attempts to survey the most recent major results in axiomatic social choice theory within a unifying interpretation accessible to nonspecialists.
Average Subjective Decisiveness Probabilities across Rounds by Session
We report results from a laboratory experiment that provides the first direct test of the pivotal voter model. This model predicts that voters will rationally choose to vote only if their expected benefit from voting outweighs the cost. The expected benefit calculation involves the use of the voter’s subjective probability that s/he will be pivotal to the election outcome; this probability is typically unobservable. In one of our experimental treatments we elicit these subjective probabilities using a proper scoring rule that induces truthful revelation of beliefs. The cost of voting and the payoff to the election winner are known constants, so the subjective probabilities allow us to directly test the pivotal voter model. We find some support for the model: While a higher subjective probability of being pivotal does increase the likelihood that an individual chooses to vote, the decisiveness probability thresholds used by subjects are not as crisp as the theory would predict. We find some evidence that individuals learn over time to adjust their probabilities of being pivotal so that they are more consistent with the historical frequency of decisiveness, although such learning appears slow; many subjects\' assessments of their pivotalness remain substantially higher than is warranted by the electoral history.
The constitutional requirement that legislation must be approved by a majority of two chambers increases the likelihood that a core will exist, even in situations in which a core would not exist under a unicameral majority rule. Laboratory experiments were run on forty six-person groups, with constant induced preferences in a two-dimensional policy space. Groups were assigned to one of four treatments. In three treatments, members were assigned to two three-person chambers, and a majority of each chamber was required to make policy decisions. In two of these treatments, the assignment induced a bicameral core; in one it did not. The fourth, a control treatment, was a unicameral, simple majority-rule game with no core. The variance in each of the two cases with a bicameral core was significantly less trran in the no-core bicameral or the unicameral treatments. In the cases with a bicameral core, the outcomes clustered closely around the predicted core outcomes. The results provide strong support for the stability-inducing properties of bicameralism and for the core as a predictor of this effect. Players received statistically greater rewards in those treatments in which their role was pivotal in achieving the core.
We show how an outside party offering incentives to voters can manipulate at no cost collective decisions made through voting. Under influence, these decisions can become inefficient. Therefore, the market for policies may be more likely to fail than the markets for goods, because (democratic) politics involves influence and collective decisions to a greater extent than markets for goods do. We develop and use a model to analyze different incentive schemes, credibility situations, and payoff and information structures. We discuss implications for the efficiency of democracy, voting, lobbying, committee decision making, and legislatures.
Many studies in British politics in particular and comparative politics more generally have shown a strong relation between personal attributes and voting behavior. Such studies have tended to assume an excessively static picture of party support. "Issue-voting" models, on the other hand, have not adequately accounted for sources of electoral stability. This paper attempts to link structural and political factors in a single model of political preference, and to show the implications of this for the study of broader questions such as why political systems remain stable or change over time. Two routes by which the social structure affects political preferences are posited, estimated, and compared. The strength of the endogenous political component raises the question of the source of stability in the British political system. The proposed model thus estimates the importance of lagged judgments and socialization biases in maintaining a core of "partisan" support for the parties.
Formal political theory has raised serious doubts about the existence of strategic voting, and this in turn has challenged the prevailing wisdom in comparative politics about phenomena like "squeezing" and the effect of the "wasted vote." This paper attempts to set out the conditions for strategic voting and to test for it using data from the 1970 British General election. The results from both an aggregate and a survey analysis indicate that individuals are more likely to vote for their second preference when they perceive that their first choice has little chance of winning. This effect is particularly strong when the next best party is at a margin of under five percent.
The new congressional budget process provides members of Congress with a new set of institutional mechanisms for making budget decisions. This article addresses the question of whether or under what conditions rigid application of the new budget process (modeled as, first, selection of the size of the budget and, second, its division) produces smaller budgets than a piecemeal appropriations process in which the size of the budget is determined residually. The theoretical result is that the new process sometimes results in relatively large budgets. A testable implication of the theory is that given a choice of how stringently the budget process is to be employed, members of Congress jointly consider preferences and the expected outcomes under available institutional arrangements and select the arrangement (usually a rule) that yields the most favorable outcome. Empirical results from the budget process in the House from 1980 to 1983 are generally supportive of the theoretically derived hypothesis of rational choice of institutional arrangements.
This paper explores the impact of the race of individual clients and of the local racial context on the implementation of sanctions for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in a Midwestern state. We find that although nonwhites are sanctioned at lower rates than whites overall, nonwhites are sanctioned more compared to whites in each local area. This paradox occurs because nonwhites tend to live in areas with lower sanction rates. Consistent with the literature on race and policy, we find that sanction rates increase as the nonwhite population increases until a threshold is reached where nonwhites gain political power.
We investigate whether timing of the elections leads to riots or not within India. In other words, does timing of elections instigate riots? The theoretical underpinning is that an incumbent government and opposition parties exercises control over their agents to instigate communal mob violence and riots during the election years. The motto behind instigating riots is that it leads to polarization of voters and thus benefits the respective constituents (incumbent government & opposition parties). Using time series crosssectional data for 16 major Indian states for the period 1958 – 2004, we find that scheduled elections are associated with increase in riots. Also intensity of riots, proxied by rate of growth rate of riots increases in scheduled election years. We also find that riots and intensity of riots are responsive to the propinquity to an election year. Meaning, as incumbent government nears the elections, riots and intensity of riots keeps increasing, while this is exactly opposite during the early years of incumbent government in office. These results suggest that elections generate “riots cycle” in regionally, ethnically, culturally and socially diverse country like India.
A general nonlinear logit model is used to analyze political choice data. The model assumes probabilistic voting based on a spatial utility function. The parameters of the utility function and the spatial coordinates of the choices and the choosers can all be estimated on the basis of observed choices. Ordinary Guttman scaling is a degenerate case of this model. Estimation of the model is implemented in the NOMINATE program for one dimensional analysis of two alternative choices with no nonvoting. The robustness and face validity of the program outputs are evaluated on the basis of roll call voting data for the U.S. House and Senate.
This article is a synthetic effort. It attempts to mold the issue voter of traditional democratic theory and rational choice models with the "nature of the times" and partisan voters of empirical voting studies. The vehicle for this attempted synthesis is a voter decision rule more complex, more inclusive, and perhaps less "rational" than others previously suggested. After motivating and developing the formal representation of the decision rule, a variety of empirical findings about voting behavior are reexamined in light of the rule. Some reinterpretations result, particularly in the case of party identification.
This paper shows that different institutional structures for aggregation of preferences under majority rule may generate social choices that are quite similar, so that the actual social choice may be rather insensitive to the choice of institutional rules. Specifically, in a multidimensional setting, where all voters have strictly quasi-concave preferences, it is shown that the "uncovered set" contains the outcomes that would arise from equilibrium behavior under three different institutional settings. The three institutional settings are two-candidate competition in a large electorate, cooperative behavior in small committees, and sophisticated voting behavior in a legislative environment where the agenda is determined endogenously. Because of its apparent institution-free properties, the uncovered set may provide a useful generalization of the core when a core does not exist. A general existence theorem for the uncovered set is proven, and for the Downsian case, bounds for the uncovered set are computed. These bounds show that the uncovered set is centered around a generalized median set whose size is a measure of the degree of symmetry of the voter ideal points.
Heterogeneity or the presence of a variety of decision rules in a population has usually been ignored in voting research. A method for handling heterogeneous preferences using rank-order data is developed and applied to a simple issue-voting model. The estimated average effect of partisanship is substantially higher when the assumption of homogeneity is relaxed, though many self-identified partisans also use ideological criteria to evaluate candidates and many independents rely on partisan criteria.
Two methods are used to measure presidential coattails in House elections in various electoral periods since 1868. In the direct model, House votes are determined directly by presidential votes plus extraneous and local effects. This allows separate measurements of the seats-votes relationship (swing ratio) and of the behavioral connection between presidential and congressional voting. In the simultaneous determination model, votes for both offices are simultaneous results of national issues, while factors specific to the presidential campaign enter presidential voting directly and congressional voting indirectly. The two models corroborate one another and are consistent with previous studies. An increase in coattail voting during the New Deal period is found to be due to an increase in the swing ratio over the levels of previous years, while the behavioral connection remained almost constant. On the other hand, a historically low coattail effect in recent years has been due to a reduction in the behavioral connection below any previous levels, while the swing ratio (viewed over a period of 15 years) is about what it was early in this century. Implications for executive-legislative coordination are discussed.
Theory: The spatial model of elections can better be represented by using conditional logit models which consider the position of the parties in issue spaces than by multinomial logit models which only consider the position of voters in the issue space. The spatial model, and random utility models in general, suffer from a failure to adequately consider the substitutability of parties sharing similar or identical issue positions. Hypotheses: Multinomial logit is not necessarily better than successive applications of binomial logit. Conditional logit allows for considering more interesting political questions than does multinomial logit. The spatial model may not correspond to voter decision-making in multiple party settings. Multinomial probit allows for a relaxation of the IIA condition and this should improve estimates of the effect of adding or removing parties. Methods: Comparisons of binomial logit, multinomial logit, conditional logit, and multinomial probit on simulated data and survey data from multiparty elections. Results: Multinomial logit offers almost no benefits over binomial logit. Conditional logit is capable of examining movements by parties, whereas multinomial logit is not. Multinomial probit performs better than conditional logit when considering the effects of altering the set of choices available to voters. Estimation of multinomial probit with more than three choices is feasible
A widely noted empirical regularity of congressional behavior is that standing committees exert disproportionate influence on congressional choices. The observed phenomenon has a number of labels-committee influence, committee power, and (from the parent chamber's perspective) deference to committees-and a large body of theoretical and empirical research has sought to determine when and why it exists. This paper takes as given only the weakest form the observation, namely, that committee power exists sometimes. It does not directly address the questions of when and why committee power exists, although much of the relevant literature is reviewed. Rather, it focuses on a prerequisite to the resolution of disputes about committee power. How can committee power be assessed empirically? Section I reviews three classes of explanations and identifies obstacles to convincing empirical tests of the accounts. Section II introduces an econometric approach for analyzing committee power. Section III applies the technique to a sequence of votes on minimum wage legislation in the Senate in 1977. Section IV extends the technique to multi-dimensional choice spaces. Section V is a discussion and summary.
A central question in the study of democratic polities is the extent to which elite opinion about public policy shapes and potentially manipulates public opinion on those issues. Existing empirical estimates of the effect of elite communication on individual opinion formation are, however, characterized by a number of serious methodological problems, and consequently, there is little in the way of compelling evidence that elites actually influence individual opinions. This paper proposes an identification strategy for estimating the causal effect of elite messages on public support for European integration employing instrumental variable estimation. The paper presents three main empirical results. First, we find that more negative elite messages about European integration do indeed decrease public support for Europe. Our analysis suggests that OLS estimates that ignore the endogeneity, omitted variables, and measurement problems that typically occur in estimating the effects of elite communication are biased, underestimating the magnitude of the effect of elite messages by fifty percent. Second, we find no evidence that this effect of elite messages varies for more politically aware individuals. Third, our estimates are inconsistent with a mainstreaming effect in which political awareness increases support for Europe in those political settings in which elites have a favorable consensus on the benefits of integration. This result is in sharp contrast to the OLS analysis that incorrectly suggests a mainstreaming effect.
Despite much hard work in recent years, economics and political science remain largely separate disciplines. Few meaningful bridges have been build between them, and hence useful gains from intellectual trade between the two have not been realized. Some of the most recent efforts to construct such a bridge are critically evaluated. It is shown that this literature suffers from a lack of theoretical balance between economic and political theory; unrealistic, temporally aggregated conceptions of political-economic equilibrium; failure to incorporate theoretically meaningful stochastic elements of economic and political processes; and the absence of a coherent methodology for gauging the empirical power of political-economic models. In the spirit of the AJPS workshop, it is shown how these problems can be solved. An improved model is built, one which fuses a branch of real business cycle theory and the theory of Presidential approval. This model produces a notion of computable political-economic equilibrium which provides for market clearing, and simultaneous stochastic optimization by economic and political agents. Then, using data analysis techniques developed in parallel by real business cycle theorists (Lucas, 1981, Prescott, 1986, 1991, Kyland and Prescott 1990, 1991) and political methodologists (Brady, forthcoming; Jackson, 1995)) the model is calibrated for the U.S. It is demonstrated that the calibrated model mimics the data for the U.S., that is, when simulated, the model produces time series which when appropriately detrended have properties which are very similar to those of detrended actual data for the sample period. Finally, the model is used to study some important counterfactuals. One of these is the impact of the increase in approval volatility that the new world order is likely to spawn; the other is an assessment of the impact of Presidents pursuing relatively high--nonminimum winning--levels of approval. In these ways, a better bridge is constructed between the two disciplines and valuable insights are gained into the interplay of democracy and markets.
The Condorcet jury theorem provides a theoretical basis for democracy. Unfortunately, the theorem is known to hold only under the unrealistic assumption that votes are independent. This paper generalizes the theorem to correlated votes. The generalized theorem provides an analytical basis for free speech. Numerical examples seek to illustrate the main results.
Correlations between legislative support scores and presidential popularity do not accurately reflect the relationship between public opinion and presidential influence in Congress. Presidents make strategic choices to expend their public prestige to obtain congressional approval of programmatic initiatives. Previous studies have ignored such choices as well as other features of the strategic environment which tend to lower the apparent legislative success rates of popular presidents. A model of presidential and congressional behavior is proposed, and it is estimated that a 1 percent increase in a president's public support level increases the president's legislative approval rate by approximately 1 percent (holding program size fixed).
Three vote-share equations are estimated and analyzed in this paper, one for presidential elections, one for on-term House elections, and one for mid-term House elections. The sample period is 1916-2006. Considering the three equations together allows one to test whether the same economic variables affect each and to examine various serial correlation and coattail possibilities. The resulting three equation model can then be analyzed dynamically, which is done in Section 4. The main conclusions are briefly: 1) There is strong evidence that the economy affects all three vote shares and in remarkably similar ways. 2) There is no evidence of any presidential coattail effects on the on-term House elections. The presidential vote share and the on-term House vote share are highly positively correlated, but this is because they are affected by some of the same variables. 3) There is positive serial correlation in the House vote in that the previous mid-term House vote share positively affects the on-term House vote share and the previous on-term House vote share positively affects the mid-term House vote share. 4) The presidential vote share has a negative effect on the next mid-term House vote share. The most likely explanation for this is a balance argument, where voters are reluctant to let one party become too dominant. Ruled out as possible explanations for this fourth result is any reversal of a coattail effect, since there is no evidence of an effect in the first place, and a regression to the mean, since the positive serial correlation in the House vote implies no such regression. Also, it is not simply voting against the party in the White House, because the presidential variable is a vote share variable not a 0,1 incumbency variable.
While Congressional scholars agree that hearings are an important activity there is little consensus on their role in the legislative process. The traditional literature on hearings pplays down their role as mechanisms of disseminating information because committee members often do not appear persuaded by the information they reveal. In this paper we explore the premise that hearings may not be informative to committees but may provide crucial information to the floor. We show that, if hearings have some intrinsic informative content and are costly, even extreme committees can transmit useful information to the floor. Furthermore, the possibility of holding hearings creates an incentive for extreme committees to specialize and reveal information simply by the decision whether to hold hearings.
Top-cited authors
Charles S. Taber
  • Kansas State University
Leonie Huddy
  • Stony Brook University
Milton Lodge
  • Stony Brook University
Jens Hainmueller
  • Stanford University
Charles Shipan
  • University of Michigan