Traceability and Electoral Accountability: Elected Officials and Primary Voters

I presented at MPSA, 2014, and I attended a few other sessions. The next few posts –as many as I can write–will be an abstract from another presenter with something I can try to meaningfully add for the presenter and the reader. After all, the point of a professional conference is to engage in meaningful exchange of [political] scientific capital. This blog broadly represents my interest in continuing to exchange said capital.

In “Traceability and electoral accountability: use of legislative procedure” by Adam Dynes (Yale University), the abstract states:

Do the legislative procedures used to implement or impede policies affect how voters assign responsibility to elected officials for policy outcomes? Prior work assumes that any legislative tactic that diminishes the blame that politicians receive for unpopular policy outcomes must also diminish to some degree the credit they receive for popular ones. I argue that policymakers believe they can use obfuscating procedures, and delegation in particular, to facilitate blame avoidance without hindering credit-claiming. I then apply the logic of procedural obfuscation to local politics and find evidence supporting this hypothesis in a survey experiment on elected U.S. municipal officials and in the process. The results highlight the need for more empirical analyses on this question and more work in general on the legislative process in local government.

I listened to this presentation and to the discussant (Erik). My first question is: How does the average primary voter go “extreme”? Your findings suggest how the game is played by the agents, and not the principal under the theory of republicanism (i.e., see Pettit). To the point, shouldn’t the next logical step in your research be to (1) select a random sample of cities [or cities representing various distinct categories] be chosen, (2) [PI will] procure last presidential election list of primary voters for list in Step 1, (3) complete your study with these people?

Alas, research is expensive. Hopefully Yale can fund it [to see dasein] in order to promote its interests–kind of like what I’m doing here.

If you have been surfing Political Pipeline, you know, my dissertation looks into the ideologies of authoritarianism, liberalism, and republicanism as they relate to the Patriot Act; and I think there might similarly be some respondents who prefer any one of the three ideologies. Referring to another presentation during our session, R, B, and G may represent distinct ideologies. To what degree could adding control variables to “get the bus moving” help political scientists formalize policy prescriptions?

Well, good luck to you.







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