Beyond the Median: Voter Preferences, District Heterogeneity, and Political Representation

Posted: 2 Nov 2004

See all articles by Elisabeth R. Gerber

Elisabeth R. Gerber

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Jeffrey B. Lewis

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Abstract

Despite the centrality of the median voter prediction in political economy models, overwhelming empirical evidence shows that legislators regularly take positions that diverge significantly from the preferences of the median voter in their districts. However, all these empirical studies to date lack the necessary data to directly measure the preferences of the median voter. We utilize a unique data set consisting of individual-level voting data that allows us to construct direct measures of voter preferences. We find that legislators are most constrained by the preferences of the median voter in homogeneous districts.

Suggested Citation

Gerber, Elisabeth R. and Lewis, Jeffrey B., Beyond the Median: Voter Preferences, District Heterogeneity, and Political Representation. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=612470

Elisabeth R. Gerber (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

412 Lorch Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-647-4004 (Phone)
734-763-9181 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/people/Faculty/gerber-e.htm

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

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

Jeffrey B. Lewis

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1361
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
1,210
PlumX Metrics