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Aldrich and Battista: Conditional party government in the states

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Aldrich and Battista. 2000. Conditional party government in the states. American Journal of Political Science 46: 235-56.


Takes a lot of work on Congress and applies it to the states. Shows three things:

  1. That there is variation in the levels of polarization in the states using Poole-Rosenthal scores;
  2. That competitiveness in elections (reciprocal of the Herfindahl index) is related to polarization, with polarization occurring when parties are balanced;
  3. That competitiveness of elections relates positively to representativeness of committees.

Competitiveness of elections --> Polarization in legislatures --> Representativeness of committees



For the committees section, which they claim is an assault on the Cox-McCubbins Legislative Leviathan argument, I have some questions:

  1. They go on about the differences in informational and distributive committees, and polarized competitive legislatures ought to have more of the former. They don't actually test for this do they? Since the 6 types committees they look at aren't all clearly informational...or are they?
  2. Also by lumping both polarized and non-polarized chambers into the regression (p. 170) don't they lose a real chance to expose substantive differences between the two different types of chambers?
  3. Not entirely sure I understand the specifics of using simulations to determine p-values of the preference points of the committees.
  4. They claim (171) that this is bad for Cox-McCubbins, but in order for that to be correct wouldn't the method of choosing legislators matter? If it's not the party caucus or each party's leadership who determines their own members on committees why would the cartel model be subject to this test? Not mention shouldn't the requirements of who chooses whom to serve on these committees have to be constant across states?

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Aldrich, John (author)Battista, James (author)American PoliticsConditional Party GovernmentCartel TheoryPartiesParty GovernmentState Politics (U.S.)Legislative Parties

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