Ideology and Interests in the Political Marketplace

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

49 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2009 Last revised: 14 Nov 2012

Date Written: February 1, 2012


I develop a statistical method to measure the ideology of candidates and PACs using contribution data. The method recovers ideal points for incumbents that strongly correlate with ideological measures recovered from voting records, while simultaneously recovering positions for political action committees (PACs), unsuccessful challengers and open-seat candidates. As the candidate ideal points are estimated independently of voting records, they represent a useful new resource for testing models of legislative behavior. By incorporating non-ideological covariates known to influence PAC contributions, the method also shows promise as a platform for furthering our understanding of PAC contribution behavior.

Suggested Citation

Bonica, Adam, Ideology and Interests in the Political Marketplace (February 1, 2012). American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Adam Bonica (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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