The Effect of the Seventeenth Amendment on the Party Composition of the Senate: A Counterfactual Analysis
Charles Stewart III
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science
Wendy J. Schiller
Brown University - Department of Political Science
March 25, 2011
MIT Political Science Department Research Paper
We explore two counterfactuals to assess the effects of the 17th Amendment on the party composition of the U.S. Senate. We improve upon past analysis by (1) using multiple indicators of mass partisan support before 1914 and (2) estimating election outcomes every two years. We find, contrary to past claims, that had direct election been instituted before 1914, the composition of the Senate would not have been much different from the historical pattern of membership. The most important effect of direct election was felt in the 1930s - without direct election, Democratic majorities would have been much narrower during the New Deal.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 60
Date posted: March 26, 2011
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