Mr. Smith and the Economy: The Influence of Economic Conditions on Individual Legislator Voting

27 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2007

See all articles by Edward J. Lopez

Edward J. Lopez

Western Carolina University

Carlos D. Ramirez

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Abstract

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

Lopez, Edward J. and Ramirez, Carlos D., Mr. Smith and the Economy: The Influence of Economic Conditions on Individual Legislator Voting. Public Choice, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1069861

Edward J. Lopez (Contact Author)

Western Carolina University ( email )

College of Business
Forsyth 224C
Cullowhee, NC 28723
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.edwardjlopez.com

Carlos D. Ramirez

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Enterprise Hall MSN 3G4
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1130 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

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