Beyond the Median: Voter Preferences, District Heterogeneity, and Political Representation
Posted: 2 Nov 2004
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.
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