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Evidence on Electoral Accountability in the U.S. Senate: Are Unfaithful Agents Really Punished?

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  • Schmidt, Amy B
  • Kenny, Lawrence W
  • Morton, Rebecca B

Abstract

Many have questioned whether voters are able to hold incumbent officials electorally accountable through a retrospective voting strategy. The authors examine U.S. Senate elections from 1962 to 1990 in forty-one states, explaining which incumbents ran for reelection and their success in seeking reelection. They find that an incumbent's deviation from her state party platform decreases the probability that she will run for reelection and win if she runs. Furthermore, the electoral mechanism is found to be more efficient when voters are better informed. Finally, the authors find that their divergent party platform model provides a better fit than the median voter model. Copyright 1996 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmidt, Amy B & Kenny, Lawrence W & Morton, Rebecca B, 1996. "Evidence on Electoral Accountability in the U.S. Senate: Are Unfaithful Agents Really Punished?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 545-567, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:34:y:1996:i:3:p:545-67
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Michelle Phillips, 2014. "State involvement in limiting textbook choice by school districts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 181-203, July.
    3. Heckelman, Jac C., 2000. "Sequential elections and overlapping terms: voting for US Senate," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 97-108, May.
    4. Michael Dorsch, 2013. "Bailout for sale? The vote to save Wall Street," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 211-228, June.
    5. James Adams & Thomas Brunell & Bernard Grofman & Samuel Merrill, 2010. "Why candidate divergence should be expected to be just as great (or even greater) in competitive seats as in non-competitive ones," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 417-433, December.
    6. Randall Holcombe & Lawrence Kenny, 2007. "Evidence on voter preferences from unrestricted choice referendums," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 197-215, April.
    7. Zanzig, Blair R., 1997. "Measuring the impact of competition in local government education markets on the cognitive achievement of students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 431-441, October.
    8. Dewey, James & Husted, Thomas A. & Kenny, Lawrence W., 1999. "The ineffectiveness of school inputs: a product of misspecification?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 27-45, February.

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