Flip-Flopping: Ideological Adjustment Costs in the United States Senate
AbstractModels of electoral competition in which candidates can change position at no cost predict the convergence of platforms in a two-candidate election. Such convergence is at odds with empirical observation. In this paper, I undertake a study of candidate positioning in the United States Senate and determine the extent to which electoral costs associated with changing position explain the ideological positions taken by Senators. Using over 50 years of roll call voting data, I use a simulated method of moments approach to estimate a dynamic model of candidate positioning for U.S. Senators. The ﬁndings support a model in which Senators face convex costs to changing position, with the best ﬁtting model being one with linear costs of adjustment. The model thus predicts severe punishments for “ﬂip-ﬂopping” Senators (those who make large changes in position). As a result of the signiﬁcant costs associated with adjusting position, the empirical validity of the Median Voter Theorem (which depends upon candidates being able to change position at no cost) is called into question.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 8735.
Date of creation: 24 Apr 2008
Date of revision:
spatial models; dynamic political economy; Senate; ideology;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-05-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2008-05-17 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2008-05-17 (Positive Political Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
- Daniel McFadden, 1987.
"A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models Without Numerical Integration,"
464, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- McFadden, Daniel, 1989. "A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models without Numerical Integration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 995-1026, September.
- Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2006.
"On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 611-633.
- Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
- Rosenthal, Howard & Alesina, Alberto, 1989. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," Scholarly Articles 4553031, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
- Bernhardt, M. Daniel & Ingerman, Daniel E., 1985. "Candidate reputations and the `incumbency effect'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 47-67, June.
- Goffe, William L. & Ferrier, Gary D. & Rogers, John, 1994. "Global optimization of statistical functions with simulated annealing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 65-99.
- Smith, A A, Jr, 1993. "Estimating Nonlinear Time-Series Models Using Simulated Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(S), pages S63-84, Suppl. De.
- Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
- 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.
- Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-41, June.
- Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
- Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
- Jean Guillaume Forand, 2010.
"Two-Party Competition with Persistent Policies,"
1011, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2010.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.