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The Ideological Mapping of American Legislatures




The development and elaboration of the spatial theory of voting has contributed greatly to the study of legislative decision making and elections. Statistical models that estimate the spatial locations of individual decision-makers have made a key contribution to this success. Spatial models have been estimated for the U.S. Congress, the Supreme Court, U.S. presidents, a large number of non-U.S. legislatures, and supranational organizations. Yet one potentially fruitful laboratory for testing spatial theories, the individual U.S. states, has remained relatively unexploited, for two reasons. First, state legislative roll call data have not yet been systematically collected for all states over time. Second, because ideal point models are based on latent scales, comparisons of ideal points across states or even between chambers within a state are difficult. This article reports substantial progress on both fronts. First, we have obtained the roll call voting data for all state legislatures from the mid-1990s onward. Second, we exploit a recurring survey of state legislative candidates to allow comparisons across time, chambers, and states as well as with the U.S. Congress. The resulting mapping of America's state legislatures has great potential to address numerous questions not only about state politics and policymaking, but also about legislative politics in general.

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  • SHOR, BORIS & McCARTY, NOLAN, 2011. "The Ideological Mapping of American Legislatures," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 530-551, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:105:y:2011:i:03:p:530-551_00

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    Cited by:

    1. Galle, Brian, 2014. "The effect of national revenues on sub-national revenues evidence from the U.S," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 147-155.
    2. Paul Nolette, 2017. "The Dual Role of State Attorneys General in American Federalism: Conflict and Cooperation in an Era of Partisan Polarization," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 342-377.
    3. Razvan Vlaicu, 2018. "Inequality, participation, and polarization," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(4), pages 597-624, April.
    4. Nunnari, Salvatore & Zápal, Jan, 2017. "Dynamic Elections and Ideological Polarization," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(4), pages 505-534, October.
    5. Ulrich Matter & Paolo Roberti & Michaela Slotwinski, 2019. "Vote Buying in the US Congress," CESifo Working Paper Series 7841, CESifo.
    6. Nathan Canen & Chad Kendall & Francesco Trebbi, 2020. "Unbundling Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(3), pages 1197-1233, May.
    7. Melki, Mickael & Pickering, Andrew, 2020. "Polarization and corruption in America," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    8. Tsakas, Nikolas & Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2018. "Electoral competition with third party entry in the lab," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 121-134.
    9. Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "Government Ideology and Economic Policy-Making in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6444, CESifo.
    10. Claire Boine & Michael Siegel & Craig Ross & Eric W. Fleegler & Ted Alcorn, 2020. "What is gun culture? Cultural variations and trends across the United States," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 7(1), pages 1-12, December.
    11. Anne Duquerroy, 2019. "The Real Effects of Checks and Balances: Policy Uncertainty and Corporate Investment," Working papers 735, Banque de France.
    12. Berggren, Niclas & Nilsson, Therese, 2016. "Tolerance in the United States: Does economic freedom transform racial, religious, political and sexual attitudes?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 53-70.
    13. Brandon Marshall & Michael Peress, 2018. "Dynamic estimation of ideal points for the US Congress," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(1), pages 153-174, July.
    14. Christian Bjørnskov & Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "The size and scope of government in the US states: does party ideology matter?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(4), pages 687-714, August.
    15. Niklas Potrafke, 2018. "Government ideology and economic policy-making in the United States—a survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(1), pages 145-207, January.
    16. Hasday, Michael J. & Peris, Josep E. & Subiza, Begoña, 2019. "Randomly Selected Representative Committees," QM&ET Working Papers 19-4, University of Alicante, D. Quantitative Methods and Economic Theory.
    17. Sanford C. Gordon & Dimitri Landa, 2018. "Polarized preferences versus polarizing policies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(1), pages 193-210, July.
    18. Devin Caughey & James Dunham & Christopher Warshaw, 2018. "The ideological nationalization of partisan subconstituencies in the American States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(1), pages 133-151, July.
    19. Niklas Potrafke & Margret Schneider & Christian Simon, 2013. "Zum Einfluss von Parteiideologie auf die Staatstätigkeit in den US-Bundesstaaten," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 66(11), pages 24-29, June.
    20. Dodge Cahan & Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "The Democratic-Republican Presidential Growth Gap and the Partisan Balance of the State Governments," CESifo Working Paper Series 6517, CESifo.
    21. Christina Biedny & Trey Malone & Jayson L. Lusk, 2020. "Exploring Polarization in US Food Policy Opinions," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3), pages 434-454, September.
    22. Agustin Casas, 2020. "Ideological extremism and primaries," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 69(3), pages 829-860, April.
    23. Joshua Y. Lerner, 2018. "Getting the message across: evaluating think tank influence in Congress," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 175(3), pages 347-366, June.

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