The Impact of Partisan Gerrymandering on Political Parties
30 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 7, 2019
The relationship between votes and seats in the legislature lies at the heart of democratic governance. In recent years, a number of innovative approaches have been developed to measure partisan advantage in the translation of votes to seats. However, there has been little previous work on the downstream effects of partisan gerrymandering on the health of political parties. In this study, we conduct a comprehensive examination of the impact of partisan advantage in the districting process on an array of downstream outcomes. We find that gerrymandering impedes numerous party functions. These results hold no matter how partisan advantage is measured and at both the congressional and state house levels. Candidates are less likely to contest districts when their party is victimized by gerrymandering. Candidates that do choose to run are more likely to have weak resumes. Donors are less willing to contribute money. And ordinary voters are less apt to support the targeted party. These results indicate that gerrymandering has long-term effects on the health of the democratic process beyond simply costing or gaining parties seats in the legislature.
Keywords: gerrymandering, representation, elections
JEL Classification: H10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation