Constructing and Repairing Our Bridges: Statistical Considerations When Placing Agents into Legislative Preference Space

76 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2018 Last revised: 21 Jul 2018

See all articles by Kevin M. Esterling

Kevin M. Esterling

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 13, 2018

Abstract

A statistical test of hypotheses regarding the strategic interaction between legislators and third-party agents, such as lobbyists, bureaucrats, or experts, requires some ``bridging'' method to place each type of actor into preference spaces that are comparable. Current solutions to the bridging problem either attempt to place both legislators and agents into an arbitrary preference space entirely disconnected from the institutional setting, or they attempt to place agents into a legislative roll-call preference space mistakenly as if agents were themselves legislators. I propose a new method that leverages the observed behavioral hypotheses to identify a set of agent-specific bridging parameters that place agents directly into legislative roll-call preference space as agents, rather than counterfactually as legislators. I apply my method to test whether members of Congress condition their questioning of witnesses in committee hearings on preference similarity within the legislator-witness dyad, as a test of lobbying models for strategic information transmission.

Keywords: Bridging, Preferences, Bayesian Estimation

JEL Classification: C11

Suggested Citation

Esterling, Kevin M., Constructing and Repairing Our Bridges: Statistical Considerations When Placing Agents into Legislative Preference Space (March 13, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3107266 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3107266

Kevin M. Esterling (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.politicalscience.ucr.edu/people/faculty/esterling/index.html

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