Measuring Partisan Bias in Single Member District Electoral Systems
Public Policy Institute of California
January 2, 2013
In recent decades, the literature has coalesced around the dual concepts of symmetry and responsiveness, particularly the former, as the best measures of partisan bias in single-member district systems. I argue that neither accurately captures the concept of "efficiency" that is implied in most discussions of partisan advantage. 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: 38
Keywords: redistricting, gerrymandering, partisan bias, electoral systems, elections, American politicsworking papers series
Date posted: January 2, 2013
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