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Ignorance in Congressional Voting? Evidence from Policy Reversal on the Endangered Species Act

Author

Listed:
  • Edward J. Lopez

    (San Jose State University)

  • Daniel Sutter

    (University of Oklahoma)

Abstract

Objective: In 1978 Congress weakened several key provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which had been enacted only five years earlier. The objective is to compare alternative explanations for this policy reversal. Methods: Probit and multinomial logit models are used to explain empirically how senators voted in both 1973 and 1978, and to investigate why many senators switched their vote from supporting ESA to weakening it. Results: The findings here indicate that party affiliation and policymaker preferences were not important to the 1973 vote, but they were key variables in the 1978 votes and the vote-switching decision. Proxies for unexpected economic impacts of ESA on individual states have little explanatory power. Conclusions: Ignorance, as measured here, does not appear to explain this policy reversal. Rather, an influx of relatively conservative Democrats between 1973 and 1978 presents itself as the leading explanation.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward J. Lopez & Daniel Sutter, 2005. "Ignorance in Congressional Voting? Evidence from Policy Reversal on the Endangered Species Act," Microeconomics 0512002, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0512002
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 23. This paper was published in Social Science Quarterly, vol.85, no.4 (December) 2004, pp.891-912.
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    File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/mic/papers/0512/0512002.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 875-901, December.
    2. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1984. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 279-300, June.
    3. Bender, Bruce & Lott, John R, Jr, 1996. "Legislator Voting and Shirking: A Critical Review of the Literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 87(1-2), pages 67-100, April.
    4. Joseph P. McGarrity & Armand Picou, 2001. "Do Several Winning Coalitions Exist in a State for Senators of the Same Party? Evidence from an Event Study," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 281-309, October.
    5. Maloney, Michael T & McCormick, Robert E, 1982. "A Positive Theory of Environmental Quality Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 99-123, April.
    6. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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    Cited by:

    1. J. O’Roark & William Wood, 2011. "Determinants of congressional minimum wage support: the role of economic education," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 209-225, April.
    2. Bonnie Harllee & Myungsup Kim & Michael Nieswiadomy, 2009. "Political influence on historical ESA listings by state: a count data analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 21-42, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    endangered species act; congressional voting;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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