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Flip-Flopping: Ideological Adjustment Costs in the United States Senate

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  • Jason M. DeBacker
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    Abstract

    Using a long panel of roll call voting data, I find that “flip-flopping" senators face significant electoral costs when changing positions. In models of electoral competition, as the costs to candidates changing position approach zero, the equilibrium prediction is the convergence of platforms. Such convergence is at odds with empirical observation. Using a dynamic, structural model of candidate positioning, I identify the nature of the costs associated with changing position that may result in such non-convergence.

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    File URL: http://capone.mtsu.edu/berc/working/Ideo_Adj.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers with number 201403.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:mts:wpaper:201403

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    Web page: http://www.mtsu.edu/~berc/working/Economics_Working_Papers.html
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    Keywords: Ideology; Voting; Politics;

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    1. Bronars, Stephen G & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. "Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes? Or, Do Donors Support Candidates Who Value the Same Things That They Do?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 317-50, October.
    2. Daniel McFadden, 1987. "A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models Without Numerical Integration," Working papers 464, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Enelow, James M & Munger, Michael C, 1993. " The Elements of Candidate Reputation: The Effect of Record and Credibility on Optimal Spatial Location," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 757-72, December.
    4. Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
    5. DeBacker, Jason, 2011. "The price of pork: The seniority trap in the U.S. House," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 63-78, February.
    6. Gautam Gowrisankaran & Matthew F. Mitchell & Andrea Moro, 2008. "Electoral Design and Voter Welfare from the U.S. Senate: Evidence from a Dynamic Selection Model," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-17, January.
    7. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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