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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1916342
 
 

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Polarization Without Parties: The Rise of Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature


Seth E. Masket


University of Denver

Boris Shor


University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies

August 24, 2011


Abstract:     
Despite a history of nonpartisanship dating back to the 1930s, the Nebraska state legislature appears to be polarizing. How does polarization happen without parties? Using interviews, roll call votes, and campaign finance records, we examine politics in the modern Nebraska Unicam. We find that term limits, which began removing incumbents from office in 2006, created opportunities for the state’s political parties to recruit and finance candidates, and they have done so in an increasingly partisan fashion. Social network analysis suggests that there is an increasing level of structure to campaign donations, with political elites less likely to contribute across party lines than they used to be. The results offer a compelling example of parties overcoming an institutional rule designed to eliminate them.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

Keywords: Nebraska, ERGM, campaign finance, nonpartisanship, state legislatures, social networks

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Date posted: August 25, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Masket, Seth E. and Shor, Boris, Polarization Without Parties: The Rise of Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature (August 24, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1916342 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1916342

Contact Information

Seth E. Masket (Contact Author)
University of Denver ( email )
E. Evans and S. University Blvd.
Denver, CO 80208
United States
303-871-2718 (Phone)
303-871-2045 (Fax)
Boris Shor
University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )
1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
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