Reform and Representation: A New Method Applied to Recent Electoral Changes

42 Pages Posted: 4 May 2013 Last revised: 25 Aug 2015

Thad Kousser

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Justin Phillips

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Boris Shor

University of Houston - Department of Political Science; Georgetown University, Department of Government

Date Written: August 19, 2015

Abstract

Can electoral reforms such as an independent redistricting commission and the top-two primary create conditions that lead to better legislative representation? We explore this question by presenting a new method for measuring a key indicator of representation – the congruence between a legislator's ideological position and the average position of her district's voters. Our novel approach combines two methods: the joint classification of voters and political candidates on the same ideological scale, along with multilevel regression and post-stratification to estimate the position of the average voter across many districts in multiple elections. After validating our approach, we use it to study the recent impact of reforms in California, showing that they did not bring their hoped-for effects.

Keywords: primaries, representation, elections, redistricting, polarization, MRP, ideal points, California

Suggested Citation

Kousser, Thad and Phillips, Justin and Shor, Boris, Reform and Representation: A New Method Applied to Recent Electoral Changes (August 19, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2260083 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2260083

Thad Kousser

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

Justin Phillips

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Boris Shor (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-3011
United States

Georgetown University, Department of Government ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
3122834599 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://research.bshor.com

Paper statistics

Downloads
626
Rank
32,668
Abstract Views
3,349