IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/pubcho/v129y2006i3p381-398.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Public choice principles of redistricting

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Gilligan
  • John Matsusaka

Abstract

This paper uses fundamental principles of public choice, mainly the median voter theorem, to develop a simple theory of redistricting. The focus is on how closely policy outcomes correspond to majority rule. The main results are: (1) Potential policy bias in favor of nonmajority groups is structurally linked to the number of legislative seats and the population, and the structure of most states puts them very close to the theoretically maximum bias. (2) Random districting, which might seem like the essence of neutrality, does not eliminate policy bias on average. (3) Traditional principles of compact, contiguous districts that respect existing political boundaries, stressed in the Supreme Court’s Shaw v. Reno decision, minimize the chance of nonmajoritarian outcomes. Our analysis also offers a gerrymandering explanation for the positive relation between seats and spending that is usually taken as support for the “Law of 1/n.” Copyright Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Gilligan & John Matsusaka, 2006. "Public choice principles of redistricting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 381-398, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:129:y:2006:i:3:p:381-398
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-9062-8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-006-9062-8
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s11127-006-9062-8?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Bradbury & W. Crain, 2005. "Legislative district configurations and fiscal policy in American States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 385-407, December.
    2. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2007. "Socially Optimal Districting: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1409-1471.
    3. Dalenberg, Douglas R & Duffy-Deno, Kevin T, 1991. "At-Large versus Ward Elections: Implications for Public Infrastructure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 70(3), pages 335-342, June.
    4. Reza Baqir, 2002. "Districting and Government Overspending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1318-1354, December.
    5. Matsusaka, John G, 2000. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative in the First Half of the Twentieth Century," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 619-650, October.
    6. Katerina Sherstyuk, 1998. "How to gerrymander: A formal analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 27-49, April.
    7. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Deviations from Constituent Interests: The Role of Legislative Structure and Political Parties in the States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 383-401, July.
    8. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    9. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1999. "Structural Constraints on Partisan Bias under the Efficient Gerrymander," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 65-84, July.
    10. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
    11. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    12. McCarty, Nolan & Poole, Keith T. & Rosenthal, Howard, 2001. "The Hunt for Party Discipline in Congress," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 95(3), pages 673-687, September.
    13. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
    14. Bradbury, John Charles & Crain, W. Mark, 2001. "Legislative organization and government spending: cross-country evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 309-325, December.
    15. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bracco, Emanuele, 2013. "Optimal districting with endogenous party platforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 1-13.
    2. Jan Schnellenbach & Lars Feld & Christoph Schaltegger, 2010. "The impact of referendums on the centralisation of public goods provision: a political economy approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 3-26, February.
    3. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Faruk Gul, 2007. "Strategic Redistricting," Levine's Bibliography 843644000000000351, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Balázs R Sziklai & Károly Héberger, 2020. "Apportionment and districting by Sum of Ranking Differences," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 15(3), pages 1-20, March.
    5. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2007. "Socially Optimal Districting: A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1409-1471.
    6. Feld, Lars P. & Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2008. "On government centralization and fiscal referendums," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 611-645, May.
    7. Justin Svec & James Hamilton, 2015. "Endogenous voting weights for elected representatives and redistricting," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 434-441, December.
    8. Justin Svec & James Hamilton, 2015. "Endogenous voting weights for elected representatives and redistricting," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 434-441, December.
    9. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2007. "Competitive Redistricting," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000748, UCLA Department of Economics.
    10. Katsuya Kobayashi & Attila Tasnádi, 2019. "Gerrymandering in a hierarchical legislature," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 87(2), pages 253-279, September.
    11. Nolan McCarty & Keith T. Poole & Howard Rosenthal, 2009. "Does Gerrymandering Cause Polarization?," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(3), pages 666-680, July.
    12. Alptekin, Huzeyfe & Freire, Danilo & Mignozzetti, Umberto Guarnier & Roman, Catarina, 2020. "The Effect of Legislature Size on Public Spending: A Meta-Analysis," SocArXiv xf7wp, Center for Open Science.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. John Matsusaka, 2005. "The eclipse of legislatures: Direct democracy in the 21st century," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 157-177, July.
    2. John G. Matsusaka, 2018. "Public policy and the initiative and referendum: a survey with some new evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(1), pages 107-143, January.
    3. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    4. John Bradbury & W. Crain, 2005. "Legislative district configurations and fiscal policy in American States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 385-407, December.
    5. Germà Bel & Ringa Raudla & Miguel Rodrigues & António F. Tavares, 2018. "These rules are made for spending: testing and extending the law of 1/n," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(1), pages 41-60, January.
    6. Christopher R. Berry & Jacob E. Gersen, 2009. "Fiscal Consequences of Electoral Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 469-495, August.
    7. Tyrefors Hinnerich, Björn, 2009. "Do merging local governments free ride on their counterparts when facing boundary reform?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 721-728, June.
    8. Feld, Lars P. & Fischer, Justina A.V. & Kirchgaessner, Gebhard, 2007. "The Effect of Direct Democratic Institutions on Income Redistribution: Evidence for Switzerland," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 689, Stockholm School of Economics.
    9. Brian Knight, 2008. "Legislative Representation, Bargaining Power and The Distribution of Federal Funds: Evidence From The Us Congress," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1785-1803, October.
    10. Lars P. Feld & Justina A.V. Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "The Effect Of Direct Democracy On Income Redistribution: Evidence For Switzerland," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 817-840, October.
    11. Dongwon Lee, 2015. "Supermajority rule and the law of 1/n," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 251-274, September.
    12. Katsuyoshi Nakazawa, 2013. "Municipality amalgamation and free-ride behavior: Eligibility assessments for long-term care insurance in Japan," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201340, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    13. Katsuyoshi Nakazawa, 2018. "Free‐rider behaviour under voluntary amalgamation: The case of setting the long‐term care insurance premium in Japan," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 1409-1423, November.
    14. Dongwon Lee & Sangwon Park, 2018. "Court-ordered redistricting and the law of 1/n," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(3), pages 507-528, September.
    15. Nakazawa, Kasuyoshi, 2016. "Identifying Discretion of Municipalities to Undertake Eligibility Assessments for Japan’s Long-Term Care Insurance Program," MPRA Paper 75565, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Hirota, Haruaki & Yunoue, Hideo, 2012. "Local government expenditure and council size: Quasi-experimental evidence from Japan," MPRA Paper 42799, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per, 2012. "Does the size of the legislature affect the size of government? Evidence from two natural experiments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 269-278.
    18. Halse, Askill H., 2016. "More for everyone: The effect of local interests on spending on infrastructure," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 41-56.
    19. Daniel Höhmann, 2017. "The effect of legislature size on public spending: evidence from a regression discontinuity design," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 173(3), pages 345-367, December.
    20. Katsuyoshi Nakazawa, 2016. "Amalgamation, free-rider behavior, and regulation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(5), pages 812-833, October.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:129:y:2006:i:3:p:381-398. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.