The Effects of Automated Redistricting and Partisan Strategic Interaction on Representation: The Case of Mexico

26 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2014  

Micah Altman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries; The Brookings Institution

Eric Magar

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Political Science Department

Michael P. McDonald

University of Florida

Alejandro Trelles

University of Pittsburgh

Date Written: August 25, 2014

Abstract

In the U.S. redistricting is deeply politicized and often synonymous with gerrymandering -- the manipulation of boundaries to promote the goals of parties, incumbents, and racial groups. In contrast, Mexico’s federal redistricting has been implemented nationwide since 1996 through automated algorithms devised by the electoral management body (EMB) in consultation with political parties. In this setting, parties interact strategically and generate counterproposals to the algorithmically generated plans in a closed-door process that is not revealed outside the bureaucracy. Applying geospatial statistics and large-scale optimization to a novel dataset that has never been available outside of the EMB, we analyze the effects of automated redistricting and partisan strategic interaction on representation. Our dataset comprises the entire set of plans generated by the automated algorithm, as well as all the counterproposals made by each political party during the 2013 redistricting process. Additionally, we inspect the 2006 map with new data and two proposals to replace it towards 2015 in search for partisan effects and political distortions. Our analysis offers a unique insight into the internal workings of a purportedly autonomous EMB and the partisan effects of automated redistricting on representation.

Keywords: automated redistricting, gerrymandering, parties, Mexico

JEL Classification: D72, C11

Suggested Citation

Altman, Micah and Magar, Eric and McDonald, Michael P. and Trelles, Alejandro, The Effects of Automated Redistricting and Partisan Strategic Interaction on Representation: The Case of Mexico (August 25, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2486885 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2486885

Micah Altman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://informatics.mit.edu

The Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://informatics.mit.edu

Eric Magar (Contact Author)

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Political Science Department ( email )

Rio Hondo 1
Col. Tizapan San-Angel
Mexico City, D.F. 01000
Mexico
525556284079 (Phone)
525554904674 (Fax)

Michael P. McDonald

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

Alejandro Trelles

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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