Roll Call Data and Ideal Points
We show that, in the absence of symmetry or other parametric restrictions on legislators’ utility functions, roll call voting records cannot be used to estimate legislators’ ideal points unless we complement these data with information on the location of the alternatives being voted upon by the legislature. Without such additional information, the roll-call data cannot differentiate between distinct, arbitrary, sets of ideal points for the legislators no matter how large the roll call record or how low the number of policy dimensions. On the other hand, when the location of voting alternatives is known, we derive simple testable restrictions on the location of legislators’ ideal points from the roll call data.
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- Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
- Henry Brady, 1989. "Factor and ideal point analysis for interpersonally incomparable data," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 181-202, June.
- de Leeuw, Jan, 2006. "Principal component analysis of binary data by iterated singular value decomposition," Computational Statistics & Data Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 21-39, January.
- Richter, Marcel K. & Wong, K.-C.Kam-Chau, 2004. "Concave utility on finite sets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 341-357, April.
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