Approaches to Studying Policy Representation

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Authors David E. Broockman
Journal/Conference Name LEGISLATIVE STUDIES QUARTERLY
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Some studies of policy representation test hypotheses about the relationship between citizens' views and elites' positions on multiple issues by proceeding one issue at a time. Others summarize citizens' and elites' preferences with “ideology scores” and test hypotheses with these. I show that approach is flawed. It misinterprets citizens' ideology scores as summaries of policy preferences, but these scores actually measure ideological consistency across areas: how often citizens' ideal policies are liberal or conservative. Examples show how attending to this distinction overturns conventional wisdom: legislators appear similarly moderate as citizens, not more extreme; however, politically engaged citizens appear especially moderate.
Date of publication 2016
Code Programming Language R
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