Morris Fiorina

Morris Fiorina
Stanford University | SU · Department of Political Science

About

126
Publications
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12,662
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 1998 - present
Stanford University
Position
  • Wendt Family Professor

Publications

Publications (126)
Article
Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels argue, in Democracy for Realists, that voters tend to be not only politically ignorant but irrationally attached to group identities. That voters use group identities is not in dispute, but the irrationality of doing so is questionable. The instability and malleability of group identities suggests that they are m...
Article
Commentary on contemporary American national politics is almost universally critical. Gridlock reigns: Politics is polarized, government is dysfunctional, and public policy is stalemated. Elected officials barely avoid one cliff only to find themselves on the brink of another. Credit downgrades, debt crises, national bankruptcy, climate catastrophe...
Article
During every election campaign, political journalists make claims and offer interpretations that political scientists who study public opinion, campaigns, and elections know to be inaccurate. In this article, I discuss a number of misconceptions that frequently appear in media discussions of electoral polarization. Chief among these are the confusi...
Article
Full-text available
In 2008 journalist Bill Bishop achieved the kind of notice that authors dream about. His book, The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart, was mentioned regularly during the presidential campaign; most notably, former president Bill Clinton urged audiences to read the book. Bishop's thesis is that Americans increasi...
Article
In President Obama's words, the Democratic Party experienced a “shellacking” in the 2010 elections. In particular, the net loss of 63 House seats was the biggest midterm loss suffered by a party since 1938—the largest in the lifetimes of approximately 93% of the American population. © 2011, American Political Science Association. All rights reserve...
Article
This article offers a reflection on the study of Congress. From the personal perspective of the author, the article examines the progress of congressional studies during the past half-century. It examines the evolution of the Textbook Congress and the inside and outside models of congressional studies. In the study of Congress in the 1950s and 1960...
Article
We argue that congressional scholarship would benefit from an aggressive agenda to incorporate legislative effectiveness more fully into theoretical and empirical examinations of Congress. To facilitate this effort, we advance hypotheses from a foundational theory of lawmaking effectiveness that arises from members' innate abilities, cultivated ski...
Article
Full-text available
For more than two decades political scientists have discussed rising elite polarization in the United States, but the study of mass polarization did not receive comparable attention until fairly recently. This article surveys the literature on mass polarization. It begins with a discussion of the concept of polarization, then moves to a critical co...
Article
How heterogeneous are the beliefs of citizens in a given state? Are citizens' views more diverse in some states than in others? While a number of methods exist for estimating the average liberalism of a state's population, there is no general method for estimating the heterogeneity of citizens' views. This paper provides a method to answer this que...
Chapter
Some twenty-five years ago I wrote an article entitled "The Decline of Collective Responsibility in American Politics."1 In that article (henceforth referenced as DOCR), I updated the classic arguments for party responsibility in light of which the politics of the 1970s looked seriously deficient. A subsequent article with a similar theme appeared...
Article
For decades theorizing about party competition in two-party and multiparty democracies has proceeded along separate tracks. The former has assumed an idealized world in which one party wins full control of a system's governing institutions in a first-past-the-post election, while the latter posits a world in which elections conducted under a system...
Article
In 1936, George Gallup correctly forecast Franklin Roosevelt's presidential landslide at a time when one of the country's well-known straw polls was predicting a comfortable win for Republican Alf Landon. Gallup was one of the first to adopt a statistical development—probability sampling—that soon became the gold standard of American public opinion...
Article
Full-text available
According to a portrait of elections widely held in academic political science, election outcomes depend on the ‘fundamentals’, especially peace and prosperity. Al Gore's election showing in 2000 runs counter to the preceding interpretation of elections. Objective conditions pointed to a comfortable victory, if not a landslide, but Gore's narrow po...
Article
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The study of political parties and voter partisanship has come full circle in 4 decades. During the 1960s and 1970s numerous scholars advanced the thesis of party decline, contending that party organizations had disintegrated, party influence in government had plummeted, and voter partisanship had eroded. The 1980s and 1990s saw a turnaround in sch...
Article
In an earlier article I hypothesized that the professionalization of American state legislatures enhanced the electoral fortunes of the Democratic Party. While the statistical analyses reported in that article were consistent with the hypothesis, there has been lingering concern that the finding may be spurious. Specifically, if voter preferences w...
Article
The critique of my 1994 article by Stonecash and Agathangelou reflects a series of misconceptions and misunderstandings--about measures, methods, arguments, and findings. In this rejoinder I attempt to correct these. In addition, I clarify my methods and findings. First, I show that a formal statistical test indicates that limiting the analysis to...
Article
Don Green and Ian Shapiro's Pathologies of Rational Choice Theory, despite the impressive amount of work that has gone into it, is undercut by a number of serious misunderstandings of the use of the rational choice approach by students of American politics. Furthermore, Green and Shapiro adopt an extremely pinched notion of an empirical contributio...
Article
Since World War II, divided government has become increasingly common in the American states. A significant component of the increase is the deterioration of Republican fortunes in state legislatures: after the 1990 and 1992 elections, for example, only five state legislatures were controlled by the Republicans. I shall examine the hypothesis that...
Article
For the past twenty-five years concluding essays in volumes like this one have addressed the prospect of electoral realignment. No more. Realignment — at least as classically conceived — appears to be a dead concept. Since 1964 we have waited for the realignment; and each time the academic consensus has announced, ‘No, that wasn’t it’. But, classic...
Article
Full-text available
Nearly two decades ago researchers pointed out the sharp decline in marginal districts in elections for the US House of Representatives. That observation led to an outpouring of research describing the electoral changes, explaining their bases and speculating about their consequences for the larger political system. Recently Gary Jacobson has offer...
Article
Full-text available
The last three decades have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of states with spilt Senate delegations, featuring two senators of different parties. In addition, there is evidence that senators of different parties do not cluster in the middle: they are genuinely polarized. We propose a model which explains this phenomenon. Our argument build...
Article
Negative voting occurs when voters respond more strongly to political actions or outcomes that they oppose than to comparable actions or outcomes they favor. This paper discusses the possibility that negative voting is an artifact. We develop a simple probabilistic model of constituent support that produces negative voting among some constituents p...
Article
This paper characterizes agenda independent outcomes in a distributive, or "pork barrel," setting. We assume each legislator has a list of projects for which funding is sought. Each project provides benefits that are concentrated in each district but imposes costs that must be borne by all districts. A bill consists of some subset of the projects p...
Article
Under the guise of the "incumbency advantage," American research of the past decade has devoted heavy emphasis to what may be termed the @'personal vote@' in congressional elections. Is this phenomenon purely American, or is it susceptible to comparative treatment? This article contrasts the personal vote in the 1980 U.S. House elections with that...
Article
Incumbents in single member, simple plurality systems strive to develop name recognition and positive images of themselves. We propose to analyze the images that constituents in Great Britain and the United States have of their MPs and Congressmen and to measure the impact which incumbent activities have on those images. We also examine the normati...
Article
Full-text available
The policymaking component of representation in the United States and Great Britain has been closely studied and compared, but the constituency component—the handling of constituent complaints and the protection of constituency interests—is less well understood. This article considers two questions about the constituency component of representation...
Article
Full-text available
This paper takes an initial stab at the delegation question. What incentives lead legislators to delegate not only the administration but even the formulation of public policy to unelected officials? A variety of considerations are relevant, but my focus will be on political (rather than managerial) incentives to delegate. The next section of the p...
Article
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 sugge...
Article
Full-text available
Bureaucracy is a traditional object of disparaging commentary, but in recent years it has received more than a proportionate share of popular and political criticism. Perceived problems of wasteful, unresponsive, power-hungry, and out-of-control bureaucracy have generated calls for across the board cut-backs in bureaucratic size and authority, as w...
Conference Paper
Perhaps because of the importance and visibility of some regulatory agencies and commissions, numerous observers have come to regard the administrative form of regulation as the “logical“ or “natural“ method of intervening in the economy or society. In fact, however, regulation comes in a variety of forms. The administrative form might seem all per...
Chapter
Perhaps it overstates matters to say that there is a crisis in formal political theory, but it is apparent that much mischief has been caused by a series of theorems that depict the chaotic features of majority-rule voting systems. These theorems, proved elegantly in recent papers by Cohen (1979), McKelvey (1976, 1979) and Schofield (1978), establi...
Article
Full-text available
Perhaps it overstates matters to say that there is a crisis in formal political theory, but it is apparent that much mischief has been caused by a series of theorems that depict the chaotic features of majority-rule voting systems. These theorems, proved elegantly in recent papers by Cohen (1979), McKelvey (1976, 1979) and Schofield (1978), establi...
Article
A paper like this does not lend itself to conclusions. The unifying theme of the paper is a question: when and why does Congress choose to modify social and/or economic behavior by establishing a regulatory agency rather than by writing a law to be enforced in the courts? This is a special case of the more general question of why politicians delega...
Article
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....
Conference Paper
In the wake of the 1978 CPS National Election Study the prevailing portrait of House elections has changed dramatically. The new portrait is more in harmony with theories developed to explain the increasingly idiosyncratic character of House elections in the 1960s and 1970s. As yet, however, there has been little direct attention devoted to the stu...
Article
A review of the Political Business Cycle (PBC) literature provides grounds for cautious optimism: the literature is cumulative and it exhibits steady theoretical advancement. Early contributions focused primarily on the demand side of the system, i.e. do voters react to economic fluctuations in simple, direct, self-interested fashion (e.g. Kramer,...
Article
The policy-making component of representation in the U.S. and Great Britain has been closely studied and compared, but the constituency's component—the handling of constituent complaints and the protection of constituency interests—is less well understood. This paper considers two questions about the constituency component of representation: how mu...
Article
Full-text available
In the American constitutional system the formal powers of government are sufficiently fragmented that no single official, including the president, is individually responsible for the outcomes of government activity. Thus, American officials face the continual temptation to "pass the buck"—to avoid any difficult or politically dangerous decision in...
Article
It is well known that group decision processes (of which voting processes are an important special case) do not in general have equilibria. In fact, recent work indicates that such processes are characterized by a degree of instability much more extensive than previously recognized. As observers of ongoing political processes, we contend that such...
Conference Paper
It is well known that group decision processes (of which voting processes are an important special case) do not in general have equilibria. In fact, recent work indicates that such processes are characterized by a degree of instability much more extensive than previously recognized. As observers of ongoing political processes, we contend that such...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines how rational voters might choose between candidates under conditions of uncertainty. We shall emphasize two rational voting approaches--"defensive voting" and "credulous voting "--which have previously escaped notice. Additionally, we shall map out some of the implications of electoral uncertainty for empirical tests of the rati...
Article
The British parliamentary system supposedly denies MPs the electoral incentive and the staff resources to engage in constituency service in the style of members of the U.S. Congress. Backbench MPs presumably aspire to ministerial office and therefore concentrate their activity on the work of the House. Case studies of 17 MPs, however, reveal that t...
Article
Full-text available
The present generation of political scientists possesses a wealth of knowledge about the logical structure of majority rule processes. Only thirty years ago Duncan Black began to publish a series of discoveries and rediscoveries about the properties of committee decisionmaking under majority rule. At almost the same time Kenneth Arrow proved a gene...
Conference Paper
The British parliamentary system supposedly denies MPs the electoral incentive and the staff resources to engage in constituency service in the style of members of the U.S. Congress. Backbench MPs presumably aspire to ministerial office and therefore concentrate their activity on the work of the House. Case studies of 17 MPs, however, reveal that t...
Article
In both the United States and Great Britain, legislators are surprisingly popular despite the inefficacy of government policies and the worsening of economic conditions. The answer to this small puzzle lies in the determinants of legislative popularity. In this paper, we show that legislative popularity in both countries is significantly related to...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the findings of a series of experiments on committee decision making under majority rule. The committee members had relatively fixed preferences, so that the process was one of making decisions rather than one of problem solving. The predictions of a variety of models drawn from Economics, Sociology, Political Science and Game...
Article
Full-text available
Given falling birth rates, ageing baby boomers approaching retirement age as well as a pension crisis in most advanced economies, understanding the characteristics of the labour supply function of the elderly have taken on a new significance. Even in developing countries, with labour surplus economies, this is a major issue as these poor countries...
Article
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...
Article
The claim that government is excessively bureaucratic can be interpreted as an assertion about inefficient factor proportions in the production of public goods. The rational choice theory of electoral competition is extended in this paper to include the election of representatives from separate districts, ombudsman activities by legislators, self-i...
Article
Recent developments in formal political analysis have spawned two seemingly related theories of democratic political processes. The more familiar of the two is the theory of electoral competition based on Downs' (1957) heuristics and greatly elaborated by Davis, Hinich and Ordeshook (1970), Kramer (1975), McKelvey (1976), and others. Somewhat less...
Article
The claim that government is excessively bureaucratic can be interpreted as an assertion about inefficient factor proportions in the production of public goods. The rational choice theory of electoral competition is extended in this paper to include the election of representatives from separate districts, ombudsman activities by legislators, self-i...
Chapter
Recent developments in formal political analysis have spawned two seemingly related theories of democratic political processes. The more familiar of the two is the theory of electoral competition based on Downs' (1957) heuristics and greatly elaborated by Davis, Hinich and Ordeshook (1970), Kramer (1975), McKelvey (1976), and others. Somewhat less...
Article
The preparation of an invited paper imposes a cost on the academic: although normally in his general field of interest, the assigned topic seldom coincides exactly with the subject of his current thinking and writing. Thus, the assignment entails a temporary shifting of mental gears. At the same time, the preparation of an invited paper presents th...
Article
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 pr...

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