App Stats: Fowler and Hall on "Do Legislators Cater to the Priorities of Their Constituents?"

We hope you can join us this Wednesday, March 27, 2013 for the Applied Statistics Workshop. Anthony Fowler and Andrew B. Hall, Ph.D. Candidates from the Department of Government at Harvard University, will give a presentation entitled "Do Legislators Cater to the Priorities of Their Constituents?". A light lunch will be served at 12 pm and the talk will begin at 12.15.

"Do Legislators Cater to the Priorities of Their Constituents?"
Anthony Fowler and Andy Hall
Government Department, Harvard University
CGIS K354 (1737 Cambridge St.)
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 12.00 pm


Republican and Democratic legislators vote differently on a large number of bills even when representing constituents of identical preferences. Because constituencies care about some issues more than others, representatives may give short shrift to the district's preferences on some topics while carefully mirroring them on others. The more a district cares about an issue, the more loyally we should see its legislators voting. As a consequence, we should expect the partisan gap in representation -- the difference in voting behavior between a Democrat and a Republican representing the same constituents -- to shrink on issues of greater concern to the district. We test this hypothesis in eight issue areas: agriculture, civil rights, defense, education, energy, public transportation, senior citizens' issues, and welfare. Contrary to expectation, we find little evidence that representational quality improves when constituents have strong personal interests. Across all issues examined, the representational gap between the parties is massive and does not shrink meaningfully in especially-interested districts.

Posted by Konstantin Kashin at March 25, 2013 10:34 AM