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Measuring Partisan Bias in Single-Member District Electoral Systems

Eric McGhee

Public Policy Institute of California

May 29, 2013

In recent decades, the literature has coalesced around either symmetry or responsiveness as measures of partisan bias in single-member district systems. I argue neither accurately captures the traditional idea of an "efficient" gerrymander, where one party claims more seats without more votes. I suggest a better measure of efficiency and then use this new measure to reconsider a classic study of partisan gerrymandering. Contrary to the original study findings, I show that the effects of party control on bias are small and decay rapidly, suggesting that redistricting is at best a blunt tool for promoting partisan interests.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: redistricting, gerrymandering, partisan bias, electoral systems, elections, American politics

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Date posted: January 2, 2013 ; Last revised: July 8, 2013

Suggested Citation

McGhee, Eric, Measuring Partisan Bias in Single-Member District Electoral Systems (May 29, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2195785 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2195785

Contact Information

Eric McGhee (Contact Author)
Public Policy Institute of California ( email )
500 Washington Street
Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94111
United States
415-291-4439 (Phone)
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References:  14
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