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Specification Issues in Assessing the Moderating Role of Issue Importance: A Comment on Grynaviski and Corrigan (2006)

  • Neil Malhotra (a1) and Alexander Tahk (a2)

The empirical study of spatial issue voting has experienced a resurgence in recent years due to advances in data collection and research design. Grynaviski and Corrigan make several important contributions to this literature. In this note, we comment on one of Grynaviski and Corrigan's recommendations—to not include a main effect for issue importance when estimating models assessing the interactive relationship between importance and policy proximity. According to the authors, including the main importance term is incorrect because it is not necessary in representing a scale-invariant functional form under some assumptions and is insufficient under others. In deriving their reduced-form expression, the authors produce a model that is unintuitive and inappropriate for most data. Moreover, the restrictions Grynaviski and Corrigan impose on their model can produce perverse empirical predictions. We show that a model including main effect terms for importance is indeed scale invariant and that inclusion of the main importance term is necessary for scale invariance with respect to partial utility functions.

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Authors' note: We thank Jon Krosnick, Daniel Schneider, Jonathan Wand, Jeff Grynaviski, Wendy Tam Cho, the editors, and anonymous reviewers for valuable feedback.

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