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Myths and Realities of American Political Geography

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  • Glaeser, Edward L.

    (Harvard U)

  • Ward, Bryce A.
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    Abstract

    The division of America into red states and blue states misleadingly suggests that states are split into two camps, but along most dimensions, like political orientation, states are on a continuum. By historical standards, the number of swing states is not particularly low, and America’s cultural divisions are not increasing. But despite the flaws of the red state/blue state framework, it does contain two profound truths. First, the heterogeneity of beliefs and attitudes across the United States is enormous and has always been so. Second, political divisions are becoming increasingly religious and cultural. The rise of religious politics is not without precedent, but rather returns us to the pre-New Deal norm. Religious political divisions are so common because religious groups provide politicians the opportunity to send targeted messages that excite their base.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp06-007.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp06-007

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    1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
    2. Kevin Murphy & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Persuasion in Politics," NBER Working Papers 10248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1283-1330, November.
    4. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    5. Bruce Sacerdote & Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "Education and Religion," NBER Working Papers 8080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Fogel, Robert William, 2000. "The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226256627, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. DiPrete, Thomas A. & Gelman, Andrew & Teitler, Julien & Zheng, Tian & McCormick, Tyler, 2008. "Segregation in social networks based on acquaintanceship and trust," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2008-204, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Klor, Esteban F. & Shayo, Moses, 2010. "Social identity and preferences over redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 269-278, April.
    3. Hillman, Arye L., 2010. "Expressive behavior in economics and politics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 403-418, December.
    4. Jon H. Fiva & Olle Folke & Rune J. Sørensen, 2013. "The Power of Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 4119, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Kumar, Alok & Page, Jeremy K. & Spalt, Oliver G., 2011. "Religious beliefs, gambling attitudes, and financial market outcomes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 671-708.
    6. Makowsky, Michael, 2009. "Religion, Clubs, and Emergent Social Divides," MPRA Paper 14359, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Glaeser, Edward L. & Sunstein, Cass R., 2008. "Extremism and Social Learning," Working Paper Series rwp08-004, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    8. Leandro M. de Magalhães, 2011. "Political Parties and the Tax Level in the American States: A Regression Discontinuity Design," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 11/622, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    9. Paola Conconi & Giovanni Facchini & Maurizio Zanardi, 2012. "Fast-Track Authority and International Trade Negotiations," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 146-89, August.
    10. Edward L. Glaeser & Cass R. Sunstein, 2007. "Extremism and Social Learning," NBER Working Papers 13687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Tomer Blumkin & Volker Grossmann, 2010. "May increased partisanship lead to convergence of parties’ policy platforms?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 547-569, December.
    12. Matthew Gentzkow & Nathan Petek & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2012. "Do Newspapers Serve the State? Incumbent Party Influence on the US Press, 1869-1928," NBER Working Papers 18164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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