Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2051093
 


 



Districting for a Low-Information Electorate


Christopher S. Elmendorf


University of California, Davis - School of Law

David Schleicher


George Mason University School of Law

May 4, 2012

Yale Law Journal, Vol. 121, No. 7, pp. 1846-1886, May 2012
UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 294
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-40

Abstract:     
Most commentary on redistricting is concerned with fairness to groups, be they racial, political, or geographic. This Essay highlights another facet of the redistricting problem: how the configuration of districts affects the ability of low-information voters to secure responsive, accountable governance. We show that attention to the problem of voter ignorance can illuminate longstanding legal-academic debates about redistricting, and that it brings into view a set of questions that deserve our attention but have received little so far. District designers should be asking how alternative maps are likely to affect local media coverage of representatives, as well as the “branding” strategies of political party elites. Bearing these questions in mind, we offer some tentative suggestions for reform.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 43

Keywords: bipartisan, brands, citizens, congruence, consumers, democracy, Democratic, election law, Fiorina, gerrymandering, government, heterogeneity, homogeneity, informed preference, institutions, interdistrict, knowledge, laws, markets, median, newspapers, politics, Republican, Schottschneider, television

JEL Classification: D72, P16

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: May 5, 2012 ; Last revised: May 11, 2012

Suggested Citation

Elmendorf, Christopher S. and Schleicher, David, Districting for a Low-Information Electorate (May 4, 2012). Yale Law Journal, Vol. 121, No. 7, pp. 1846-1886, May 2012; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 294; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-40. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2051093

Contact Information

Christopher S. Elmendorf
University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )
Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States
530-752-5756 (Phone)
530-753-5311 (Fax)
David Schleicher (Contact Author)
George Mason University School of Law ( email )
3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
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