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Simulating Counterfactual Representation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2017

Andrew C. Eggers
Politics and International Relations, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, 1 New Rd, Oxford OX1 1NF, UK
Benjamin E. Lauderdale*
Department of Methodology, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK


We show how to use multilevel modeling and post-stratification to estimate legislative outcomes under counterfactual representation schemes that, for example, boost the representation of women or translate votes into seats differently. We apply this technique to two research questions: (1) Would the U.S. Congress be less polarized if state delegations were formed according to the principle of party proportional representation? (2) Would there have been stronger support for legalizing same-sex marriage in the U.K. House of Commons if Parliament more closely reflected the population in gender and age?

Copyright © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology 

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Authors' note: The authors thank the associate editor (Justin Grimmer) and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments; Jennifer vanVeerde-Hudson and Rosie Campbell for sharing data; and participants at the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association annual meetings for useful feedback. Replication materials are available online on the Political Analysis Dataverse at


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