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Legislative district configurations and fiscal policy in American States

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  • John Bradbury

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  • W. Crain

Abstract

In accordance with the median voter theorem the median legislator is decisive in representative democracy. If the preferences of the median legislator differ from the preferences of the median voter in the polity, fiscal policy choices will predictably diverge from those favored by the median voter. This paper seeks to identify the median district (and therein the preferences driving the median legislator) in American State legislatures. Using economic characteristics of constituents, we find substantial differences between the median district and the statewide median. As the income of the median district rises above the median income of the polity, government expenditures increase. In addition, the degree to which income is skewed across legislative districts affects spending for redistribution programs. Finally, we find that direct democracy procedures, which allow the statewide median voter to check legislative decisions, limit the impact of differences between the district and polity medians. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Suggested Citation

  • John Bradbury & W. Crain, 2005. "Legislative district configurations and fiscal policy in American States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 385-407, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:125:y:2005:i:3:p:385-407
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-005-3058-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Gilligan & John Matsusaka, 2006. "Public choice principles of redistricting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 381-398, December.

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