Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Rational Learning and Partisan Attitudes

Alan Gerber and Donald P. Green
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 42, No. 3 (Jul., 1998), pp. 794-818
DOI: 10.2307/2991730
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2991730
Page Count: 25
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Rational Learning and Partisan Attitudes
Preview not available

Abstract

Theory: Characterizing voters as rational actors who update their party affiliations based on a Bayesian assimilation of new information, Achen (1992) showed that a revisionist model of party identification generates, among its empirical implications, stable partisanship among adults. The model further implies that susceptibility to partisan change declines with age. The significance of Achen's model for the study of party identification leads us to examine more closely its underlying assumptions and the empirical ramifications of this and other learning models. Method: This essay develops a more general learning model, based upon the Kalman filter, that encompasses the Achen model as a special case. Results: We show that the Achen assumption of a fixed party benefit level leads to implausible implications about how voters learn from the history of party performance. When party benefit levels are allowed to vary over time, models of voter learning no longer imply that partisan attitudes, even among the older segments of the population, remain stable in the wake of new information about the parties. We conclude by discussing the empirical viability of our revised learning model and its implications for the study of partisan attitudes.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[794]
    [794]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
795
    795
  • Thumbnail: Page 
796
    796
  • Thumbnail: Page 
797
    797
  • Thumbnail: Page 
798
    798
  • Thumbnail: Page 
799
    799
  • Thumbnail: Page 
800
    800
  • Thumbnail: Page 
801
    801
  • Thumbnail: Page 
802
    802
  • Thumbnail: Page 
803
    803
  • Thumbnail: Page 
804
    804
  • Thumbnail: Page 
805
    805
  • Thumbnail: Page 
806
    806
  • Thumbnail: Page 
807
    807
  • Thumbnail: Page 
808
    808
  • Thumbnail: Page 
809
    809
  • Thumbnail: Page 
810
    810
  • Thumbnail: Page 
811
    811
  • Thumbnail: Page 
812
    812
  • Thumbnail: Page 
813
    813
  • Thumbnail: Page 
814
    814
  • Thumbnail: Page 
815
    815
  • Thumbnail: Page 
816
    816
  • Thumbnail: Page 
817
    817
  • Thumbnail: Page 
818
    818