Tag Archives: responsiveness

Ready to Lead on Day One: Predicting Presidential Greatness from Political Experience

Turns out that you can’t predict presidential greatness from political experience, at least not very well. We all remember Hillary Clinton’s ad–”It’s 3:00am and your children are asleep.” She wanted voters to believe that her long political experience made her “ready to lead on day one,” unlike that untested other guy, Barack Obama. More generally, […]

The Electoral Costs of Party Loyalty in Congress

Voters dislike partisans more than ideologues. Yesterday, I wrote about Ansolabehere and Jones’s article in AJPS showing that voters really do hold members of Congress accountable for their voting record in Congress. On the very next page in AJPS, we find another article on the same theme. But Carson et al. want to change the […]

Constituents’ Responses to Congressional Roll-Call Voting

Voters really do hold members of Congress accountable for their voting records. Turns out that democracy works, at least when it comes to voters holding members of Congress accountable for their voting record. For accountability to happen, we need to see three things: (1) Voters need to have specific opinions on specific issues before Congress; […]

Partisan Polarization and Congressional Accountability in House Elections

It may have been true 20, 30, or 40 years ago that members of Congress could evade accountability for Congress’s overall activities, but rising polarization has enabled voters to punish or reward Representatives for Congress’s collective performance. Shortly before the 2008 Congressional elections, only 36% believed that most members of Congress deserved reelection. These numbers […]

Broad Bills or Particularistic Policy? Historical Patterns in American State Legislatures

If you want your legislators to pass general policies that benefit the state as a whole, pay them less, make districts bigger, and strive for partisan balance. If you want your legislators to pass pork and other district-focused bills, pay them more, make districts smaller, and promote one-party government. When will state legislators take on […]

Delegating Direct Democracy: Interparty Legislative Competition and the Adoption of the Initiative in the American States

When a minority party gains tenuous control of the legislature, or when a majority feels that it might become the minority soon, then legislators gain an incentive to weaken the legislature by empowering the median voter. Today, voters in 24 states can make policy directly through the initiative process. In most of these states, the […]

A Formal Model of Learning and Policy Diffusion

Much of the empirical work to date has not adequately distinguished [game-theoretic] learning-based policy diffusion from [decision-theoretic] myopic individual adoptions. Those who advocate federalism argue that devolution improves policy outcomes nationwide by providing opportunities for local experimentation. In the words of Louis Brandeis, justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1932): It is one of the […]

Does the Citizen Initiative Weaken Party Government in the U.S. States?

Democratic governments tax the most; Republicans tax the least; divided governments are in the middle. But here’s the rub: these relationships disappear in states with direct democracy. When Progressive reformers first championed adoption of the citizen initiative and other direct democracy institutions, a major reason was to limit the ability of political parties to pursue […]