Polarized preferences versus polarizing policies

Sanford Gordon, Dimitri Landa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Much of contemporary political debate in the United States focuses on the issue of polarization: specifically, its causal antecedents and its consequences for policymaking and political conflict. In this article, we argue that partisan preference polarization—conventionally defined as the difference in the favored policy positions of legislators from the two major parties—is not a sufficient statistic for potential political conflict in national politics . Rather, a well-defined measure of potential conflict must take into account (1) the locations of status quo policies and proposed alternatives; and (2) the shape of underlying utility functions. We propose measures of the likely contentiousness of a given status quo policy and of a proposal to move that policy. We then demonstrate the usefulness of these measures using estimates of utility function and final passage vote parameters on enacted legislation from the 111th US Senate (2009–2011).

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalPublic Choice
    DOIs
    StateAccepted/In press - Mar 12 2018

    Fingerprint

    political conflict
    national politics
    conflict potential
    senate
    polarization
    voter
    legislation
    statistics
    Status quo
    Utility function

    Keywords

    • Polarization
    • Political conflict
    • U.S. Congress

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics and Econometrics

    Cite this

    Polarized preferences versus polarizing policies. / Gordon, Sanford; Landa, Dimitri.

    In: Public Choice, 12.03.2018, p. 1-18.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Gordon, Sanford ; Landa, Dimitri. / Polarized preferences versus polarizing policies. In: Public Choice. 2018 ; pp. 1-18.
    @article{bf79734e8d66406689f002d325f6403e,
    title = "Polarized preferences versus polarizing policies",
    abstract = "Much of contemporary political debate in the United States focuses on the issue of polarization: specifically, its causal antecedents and its consequences for policymaking and political conflict. In this article, we argue that partisan preference polarization—conventionally defined as the difference in the favored policy positions of legislators from the two major parties—is not a sufficient statistic for potential political conflict in national politics . Rather, a well-defined measure of potential conflict must take into account (1) the locations of status quo policies and proposed alternatives; and (2) the shape of underlying utility functions. We propose measures of the likely contentiousness of a given status quo policy and of a proposal to move that policy. We then demonstrate the usefulness of these measures using estimates of utility function and final passage vote parameters on enacted legislation from the 111th US Senate (2009–2011).",
    keywords = "Polarization, Political conflict, U.S. Congress",
    author = "Sanford Gordon and Dimitri Landa",
    year = "2018",
    month = "3",
    day = "12",
    doi = "10.1007/s11127-018-0530-8",
    language = "English (US)",
    pages = "1--18",
    journal = "Public Choice",
    issn = "0048-5829",
    publisher = "Springer Netherlands",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Polarized preferences versus polarizing policies

    AU - Gordon, Sanford

    AU - Landa, Dimitri

    PY - 2018/3/12

    Y1 - 2018/3/12

    N2 - Much of contemporary political debate in the United States focuses on the issue of polarization: specifically, its causal antecedents and its consequences for policymaking and political conflict. In this article, we argue that partisan preference polarization—conventionally defined as the difference in the favored policy positions of legislators from the two major parties—is not a sufficient statistic for potential political conflict in national politics . Rather, a well-defined measure of potential conflict must take into account (1) the locations of status quo policies and proposed alternatives; and (2) the shape of underlying utility functions. We propose measures of the likely contentiousness of a given status quo policy and of a proposal to move that policy. We then demonstrate the usefulness of these measures using estimates of utility function and final passage vote parameters on enacted legislation from the 111th US Senate (2009–2011).

    AB - Much of contemporary political debate in the United States focuses on the issue of polarization: specifically, its causal antecedents and its consequences for policymaking and political conflict. In this article, we argue that partisan preference polarization—conventionally defined as the difference in the favored policy positions of legislators from the two major parties—is not a sufficient statistic for potential political conflict in national politics . Rather, a well-defined measure of potential conflict must take into account (1) the locations of status quo policies and proposed alternatives; and (2) the shape of underlying utility functions. We propose measures of the likely contentiousness of a given status quo policy and of a proposal to move that policy. We then demonstrate the usefulness of these measures using estimates of utility function and final passage vote parameters on enacted legislation from the 111th US Senate (2009–2011).

    KW - Polarization

    KW - Political conflict

    KW - U.S. Congress

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85043460141&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85043460141&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1007/s11127-018-0530-8

    DO - 10.1007/s11127-018-0530-8

    M3 - Article

    SP - 1

    EP - 18

    JO - Public Choice

    JF - Public Choice

    SN - 0048-5829

    ER -