Scaling Roll Call Votes with W-NOMINATE in R
21 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2008 Last revised: 7 Jan 2020
Date Written: September 30, 2008
This paper presents a software package designed to estimate Poole and Rosenthal W-NOMINATE scores in R. The package uses a logistic regression model to analyze political choice data, usually (though not exclusively) from a legislative setting. In contrast to other scaling methods, W-NOMINATE explicitly assumes probabilistic voting based on a spatial utility function, where the parameters of the utility function and the spatial coordinates of the legislators and the votes can all be estimated on the basis of observed voting behavior. Building on the W-NOMINATE software written by Poole in FORTRAN, the new package facilitates easier data input and manipulation, generates bootstrapped standard errors, and includes a new suite of graphics functions to display the results. We demonstrate the functionality of this package by conducting a natural experiment using roll calls - an experiment which is greatly simplified by the data manipulation capabilities of the W-NOMINATE package in R.
Keywords: multivariate, R, roll call, scaling, wnominate
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