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Simulating Counterfactual Representation

  • Andrew C. Eggers (a1) and Benjamin E. Lauderdale (a2)


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?


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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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13Another explanation is one that arises in all assessments of congruence between public opinion and legislative voting: voting in Parliament is different from responding to a survey. It may be that our exercise has brought support in Parliament closer to what would have happened if a random sample of the population were actually asked to vote on the issue in Parliament.
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Simulating Counterfactual Representation

  • Andrew C. Eggers (a1) and Benjamin E. Lauderdale (a2)


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