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Roll Call Data and Ideal Points

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Abstract

We show that, in the absence of symmetry or other parametric restrictions on legislators’ utility functions, roll call voting records cannot be used to estimate legislators’ ideal points unless we complement these data with information on the location of the alternatives being voted upon by the legislature. Without such additional information, the roll-call data cannot differentiate between distinct, arbitrary, sets of ideal points for the legislators no matter how large the roll call record or how low the number of policy dimensions. On the other hand, when the location of voting alternatives is known, we derive simple testable restrictions on the location of legislators’ ideal points from the roll call data.

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File URL: http://www.wallis.rochester.edu/WallisPapers/wallis_42.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy in its series Wallis Working Papers with number WP42.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:roc:wallis:wp42

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Postal: University of Rochester, Wallis Institute, Harkness 109B Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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Keywords: Ideal Point Estimation; Rationalizable Choice; Roll Call Voting Record.;

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References

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  1. Henry Brady, 1989. "Factor and ideal point analysis for interpersonally incomparable data," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 181-202, June.
  2. Richter, Marcel K. & Wong, K.-C.Kam-Chau, 2004. "Concave utility on finite sets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 341-357, April.
  3. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  4. de Leeuw, Jan, 2006. "Principal component analysis of binary data by iterated singular value decomposition," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 21-39, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2010. "Rationalizable voting," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(1), January.

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