Measuring Variations in Party Unity Voting: An Assessment of Agenda Effects

Party Politics, Forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2011

See all articles by Michael Crespin

Michael Crespin

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

David W. Rohde

Duke University - Department of Political Science

Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Temple University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 9, 2011

Abstract

Measures of party divisiveness have been widely used in scholarly literature for a variety of different purposes. However, conventional measures of party divisiveness, such as the percentage of party votes in a particular Congress, fail to consider important changes in the agenda from one Congress to the next. We introduce a measure that controls for such changes, drawing attention to the affect that agenda change has on observed party divisiveness and providing a more accurate account of party divisiveness across time. We analyze party voting in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1953 and 2004, and find that a sizable amount of the fluctuation in party divisiveness identified by conventional measures is mitigated using this method. While we examine party voting in the U.S. House, our theory and method is applicable to similar measures used in the study of other legislatures (e.g., Rice and Attina indices).

Keywords: Congress, Party Unity, Voting

Suggested Citation

Crespin, Michael and Rohde, David W. and Vander Wielen, Ryan J., Measuring Variations in Party Unity Voting: An Assessment of Agenda Effects (April 9, 2011). Party Politics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1912010

Michael Crespin (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 830688, GR 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

David W. Rohde

Duke University - Department of Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
919-660-7053 (Phone)

Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Temple University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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