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Pivotal politics, partisan polarization, and policy predictability

Author(s): McCarty, Nolan M.

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Abstract: © 2018 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved. Traditional political economy models such as those founded on the work of Duncan Black and Anthony Downs cannot capture certain important features of the dynamics of policy outcomes in the United States. Because these models assume that policy change is directly responsive to the median voter, they cannot address questions about policy gridlock and drift. Because the Black-Downs model assumes that only the median matters, it assumes away other changes to the distribution of preferences of voters and legislators. In particular, it cannot address the potential consequences of polarization for policy outcomes, gridlock, or uncertainty. I argue that the pivotal politics framework of Keith Krehbiel may be quite useful in understanding the relationship between political polarization and policy uncertainty in addition to its traditional application to the study of gridlock.
Publication Date: 1-Jul-2018
Citation: McCarty, N. (2018). Pivotal politics, partisan polarization, and policy predictability. Journal of Politics, 80 (3), 1076 - 1081. doi:10.1086/697949
DOI: doi:10.1086/697949
ISSN: 0022-3816
EISSN: 1468-2508
Pages: 1 - 6
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Politics
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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