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The Coefficient of Party Influence

  • Keith Krehbiel (a1)

In a 2000 article in American Journal of Political Science, James Snyder and Tim Groseclose develop and apply an innovative method for detecting and estimating the frequency and magnitude of party influence in congressional roll call voting. This paper presents a framework for assessing the coefficient that the authors interpret as “party influence.” The analysis reveals that, and shows why, the coefficient manifests two troublesome characteristics. The coefficient cannot discriminate between disparate types of party influence because the mapping between types of partison influence and signs of the coefficient is not one-to-one. Similarly, the coefficient has a responsiveness problem because a marginal increase in one party's influence can cause the estimate of the coefficient to increase, decrease, or remain constant. Because the literature on parties in Congress emphasizes majority-party strength, the inability of the coefficient to isolate party-specific effects is a serious drawback in the ongoing hunt for genuine party discipline.

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John H. Aldrich 1995. Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Party Politics in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Brandice Canes-Wrone . 2001. “The President's Legislative Influence from Public Appeals.” American Journal of Political Science 45:313329.

Steven D Levitt , and James M. Snyder Jr. 1995. “Political Parties and the Distribution of Federal Outlays.” American Journal of Political Science 39:958980.

David W. Rohde 1991. Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

James M. Snyder Jr., and Timothy Groseclose . 2000. “Estimating Party Influence in Congressional Roll-Call Voting.” American Journal of Political Science 44:193211.

James M. Snyder Jr., and Michael Ting . 2002. “An Informational Rationale for Political Parties.” American Journal of Political Science 46:90110.

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Political Analysis
  • ISSN: 1047-1987
  • EISSN: 1476-4989
  • URL: /core/journals/political-analysis
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