Mr. Smith and the Economy: The Influence of Economic Conditions on Individual Legislator Voting
27 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2007
This paper estimates the influence of macroeconomic conditions on individual legislator voting over time. Previous work shows legislator voting to be stable over careers. In this paper, voting on an ideological issue space (ADA scores) and a fiscal issue space (NTU scores), from 1976 to 2002, exhibits significant short-term cyclicality with economic conditions. Individual legislators polarize by party in response to rising unemployment, and converge in response to rising inflation. As legislators accumulate tenure, they become more ideologically conservative but more fiscally liberal. Results are also reported on presidential party, divided government, and region. All results are weaker in the Senate than in the House.
Keywords: legislator voting, political polarization, macroeconomic aspect of political economy
JEL Classification: D72, E62
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation