Polarization in High-Growth U.S. House Districts
48 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 1 Oct 2009
Date Written: 2009
Geographic clustering has been linked to contemporary political polarization by journalists and other researchers in recent years, most recently and notably by Bishop and Cushing (2008). In these accounts, clustering is motivated, in part, by shared tastes for combinations of place attributes that attract individuals with interrelated values and similar characteristics or skillsets. In this paper, I examine the relationships between migration, polarization, and sorting in the U.S. House of Representatives in elections covering the 1990’s and 2000’s, using population growth as a proxy for inbound domestic migration. I also apply the definitions of polarization and sorting found in McCarty Poole Rosenthal (2009). I find little evidence of electoral sorting across congressional districts, but I find that districts with high growth rates contribute disproportionately to House polarization among members, as measured by DW-NOMINATE first dimension scores.
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