Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1438643
 
 

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Redistricting and Polarization: Who Draws the Lines in California?


Corbett A. Grainger


University of Wisconsin - Madison

July, 24 2009

Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 53, 2010

Abstract:     
In the U.S., the process of drawing election districts is left to individual states, and critics of legislative redistricting often argue for independent panels to take control of the process. A common claim is that legislative redistricting has been a major contributor to polarization in the American political system; however, there have been few tests of this hypothesis. Previous attempts to test for a relationship between redistricting and polarization have generally relied on cross-state comparisons in redistricting methods and examining behavior in the House of Representatives. In this paper, I exploit the fact that the redistricting process in California has alternated between legislatively-drawn and panel-drawn districts since the mid-1960s. Using data at the state legislature level, I find evidence that legislatively-drawn districts have been, on average, less competitive than panel-drawn districts. Moreover, as districts become "safer" legislators tend to take more extreme voting positions. Finally, I find evidence that legislative redistricting (compared with panel-drawn redistricting) is associated with increased polarization.

Keywords: redistricting, polarization, gerrymandering, legislative behavior, political economy of legislative processes

JEL Classification: D70, D72, D79

Accepted Paper Series





Not Available For Download

Date posted: July 24, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Grainger, Corbett A., Redistricting and Polarization: Who Draws the Lines in California? (July, 24 2009). Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 53, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1438643

Contact Information

Corbett A. Grainger (Contact Author)
University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )
427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706-1503
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.aae.wisc.edu/cagrainger
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