Flip-Flopping: Ideological Adjustment Costs in the United States Senate
Models of electoral competition in which candidates can change position at no cost predict the convergence of platforms in a two-candidate election. Such convergence is at odds with empirical observation. In this paper, I undertake a study of candidate positioning in the United States Senate and determine the extent to which electoral costs associated with changing position explain the ideological positions taken by Senators. Using over 50 years of roll call voting data, I use a simulated method of moments approach to estimate a dynamic model of candidate positioning for U.S. Senators. The ﬁndings support a model in which Senators face convex costs to changing position, with the best ﬁtting model being one with linear costs of adjustment. The model thus predicts severe punishments for “ﬂip-ﬂopping” Senators (those who make large changes in position). As a result of the signiﬁcant costs associated with adjusting position, the empirical validity of the Median Voter Theorem (which depends upon candidates being able to change position at no cost) is called into question.
|Date of creation:||24 Apr 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany|
Web page: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Callander, Steven & Wilkie, Simon, 2007. "Lies, damned lies, and political campaigns," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 262-286, August.
- Banks, Jeffrey S., 1990. "A model of electoral competition with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 309-325, April.
- Russell W. Cooper & John C. Haltiwanger, 2000.
"On the Nature of Capital Adjustment Costs,"
NBER Working Papers
7925, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Steven Callander, 2008. "Political Motivations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 671-697.
- Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
- McFadden, Daniel, 1989.
"A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models without Numerical Integration,"
Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 995-1026, September.
- Daniel McFadden, 1987. "A Method of Simulated Moments for Estimation of Discrete Response Models Without Numerical Integration," Working papers 464, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
- Gautam Gowrisankaran & Matthew F. Mitchell & Andrea Moro, 2008. "Electoral Design and Voter Welfare from the U.S. Senate: Evidence from a Dynamic Selection Model," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 1-17, January.
- Goffe, William L. & Ferrier, Gary D. & Rogers, John, 1994. "Global optimization of statistical functions with simulated annealing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 65-99.
- Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-41, June.
- Bernhardt, M. Daniel & Ingerman, Daniel E., 1985. "Candidate reputations and the `incumbency effect'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 47-67, June.
- Rosenthal, Howard & Alesina, Alberto, 1989. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," Scholarly Articles 4553031, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
- DeBacker, Jason, 2011.
"The price of pork: The seniority trap in the U.S. House,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 63-78.
- DeBacker, Jason, 2011. "The price of pork: The seniority trap in the U.S. House," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 63-78, February.
- Smith, A A, Jr, 1993. "Estimating Nonlinear Time-Series Models Using Simulated Vector Autoregressions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(S), pages S63-84, Suppl. De.
- Bronars, Stephen G & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. "Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes? Or, Do Donors Support Candidates Who Value the Same Things That They Do?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 317-50, October.
- Enelow, James M & Munger, Michael C, 1993. "The Elements of Candidate Reputation: The Effect of Record and Credibility on Optimal Spatial Location," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 757-72, December.
- Navin Kartik & R. Preston McAfee, 2007. "Signaling Character in Electoral Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 852-870, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8735. 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: (Joachim Winter)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.