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On the (Mis)measurement of Legislator Ideology and Shirking

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  • Goff, Brian L
  • Grier, Kevin B

Abstract

In this paper, the authors show that current statistical measures of legislator's shirking are implicitly based on the electoral concept of a unique majority rule equilibrium point in the policy space where elections are contested. The authors note that such equilibria do not exist generically and present statistical results showing that cross-sectional regressions where legislators' voting indices are predicted by district average demographic and economic data are mis-specified. They also discuss a weaker equilibrium construct, the uncovered set, and present statistical evidence showing that differences in voting behavior between Senators from the same state are positively related to the heterogeneity of the electorate. The authors argue that current evidence alleged to show shirking by Senators is equally consistent with Senators who perfectly represent an idiosyncratic constituency that cannot be represented by district average data. Copyright 1993 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Goff, Brian L & Grier, Kevin B, 1993. "On the (Mis)measurement of Legislator Ideology and Shirking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 5-20, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:76:y:1993:i:1-2:p:5-20
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dennis, Christopher & Bishin, Benjamin & Nicolaou, Politimy, 2000. "Constituent diversity and congress: the case of NAFTA," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 349-360, July.
    2. Dennis, Christopher, 1998. "Support for campaign spending limitations in the U. S. senate: The role of party, ideology and electoral security," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 641-649.
    3. A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "The Effects of Congressional Appropriation Committee Membership on the Distribution of Federal Research Funding to Universities," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(2), pages 325-345, April.
    4. Stanley Winer & Lawrence Kenny & Bernard Grofman, 2014. "Explaining variation in the competitiveness of U.S. Senate elections, 1922–2004," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 471-497, December.
    5. Dennis, Christopher & Medoff, Marshall H. & Magnera, Michael, 2008. "Constituents' economic interests and senator support for spending limitations," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2443-2453, December.
    6. Arsene Aka & W. Robert Reed & D. Eric Schansberg & Zhen Zhu, 1996. "Is There A "Culture Of Spending" In Congress?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 191-211, November.
    7. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph, 1996. "Interest groups: A survey of empirical models that try to assess their influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 403-442, November.
    8. Lawrence Kenny & Babak Lotfinia, 2005. "Evidence on the importance of spatial voting models in presidential nominations and elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 439-462, June.
    9. Michael Ensley, 2012. "Incumbent positioning, ideological heterogeneity and mobilization in U.S. House elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 43-61, April.
    10. Fredriksson, Per G. & Gaston, Noel, 1999. "The "greening" of trade unions and the demand for eco-taxes," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 663-686, November.
    11. Jeffrey Harden & Thomas Carsey, 2012. "Balancing constituency representation and party responsiveness in the US Senate: the conditioning effect of state ideological heterogeneity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 137-154, January.
    12. Neil Longley, 1999. "Voting on Abortion in the House of Commons: A Test for Legislator Shirking," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(4), pages 503-521, December.
    13. Benjamin Bishin & Jay Dow & James Adams, 2006. "Does democracy “suffer” from diversity? Issue representation and diversity in senate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 201-215, October.
    14. Stratmann, Thomas, 1996. "How Reelection Constituencies Matter: Evidence from Political Action Committees' Contributions and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 603-635, October.

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