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The Hunt for Party Discipline in Congress

Nolan McCarty, Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 95, No. 3 (Sep., 2001), pp. 673-687
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3118241
Page Count: 15
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The Hunt for Party Discipline in Congress
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Abstract

We analyze party discipline in the House of Representatives between 1947 and 1998. The effects of party pressures can be represented in a spatial model by allowing each party to have its own cutting line on roll call votes. Adding a second cutting line makes, at best, a marginal improvement over the standard single-line model. Analysis of legislators who switch parties shows, however, that party discipline is manifest in the location of the legislator's ideal point. In contrast to our approach, we find that the Snyder-Groseclose method of estimating the influence of party discipline is biased toward exaggerating party effects.

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