Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House

Contents:

Author Info

  • David S. Lee
  • Enrico Moretti
  • Matthew J. Butler

Abstract

There are two fundamentally different views of the role of elections in policy formation. In one view, voters can affect candidates' policy choices: competition for votes induces politicians to move toward the center. In this view, elections have the effect of bringing about some degree of policy compromise. In the alternative view, voters merely elect policies: politicians cannot make credible promises to moderate their policies, and elections are merely a means to decide which one of two opposing policy views will be implemented. We assess which of these contrasting perspectives is more empirically relevant for the U. S. House. Focusing on elections decided by a narrow margin allows us to generate quasi-experimental estimates of the impact of a "randomized" change in electoral strength on subsequent representatives' roll-call voting records. We find that voters merely elect policies: the degree of electoral strength has no effect on a legislator's voting behavior. For example, a large exogenous increase in electoral strength for the Democratic party in a district does not result in shifting both parties' nominees to the left. Politicians' inability to credibly commit to a compromise appears to dominate any competition-induced convergence in policy. © 2004 MIT Press

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.catchword.com/cgi-bin/cgi?ini=bc&body=linker&reqidx=0033-5533(20040801)119:3L.807;1-
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 119 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 807-859

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:3:p:807-859

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

Order Information:
Web: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journal-home.tcl?issn=00335533

Related research

Keywords:

References

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:3:p:807-859. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karie Kirkpatrick).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.