The Reputational Premium: A Theory of Party Identification and Policy Reasoning

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Overview

The Reputational Premium presents a new theory of party identification, the central concept in the study of voting. Challenging the traditional idea that voters identify with a political party out of blind emotional attachment, this pioneering book explains why party identification in contemporary American politics enables voters to make coherent policy choices.

Standard approaches to the study of policy-based voting hold that voters choose based on the policy positions of the two candidates competing for their support. This study demonstrates that candidates can get a premium in support from the policy reputations of their parties. In particular, Paul Sniderman and Edward Stiglitz present a theory of how partisans take account of the parties' policy reputations as a function of the competing candidates' policy positions.

A central implication of this theory of reputation-centered choices is that party identification gives candidates tremendous latitude in their policy positioning. Paradoxically, it is the party supporters who understand and are in synch with the ideological logic of the American party system who open the door to a polarized politics precisely by making the best-informed choices on offer.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The book is succinct and will therefore appeal to students in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses on political behaviour and US politics. The book is the first in a long while to take a fresh look at the concept of party identification, therefore a must read for scholars conducting research on elections and voting. Given the centrality of party identification to understanding US politics, this book is recommended to scholars engaged in all areas of study in US government and politics.
From the Publisher
"The book is succinct and will therefore appeal to students in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses on political behaviour and US politics. The book is the first in a long while to take a fresh look at the concept of party identification, therefore a must read for scholars conducting research on elections and voting. Given the centrality of party identification to understanding US politics, this book is recommended to scholars engaged in all areas of study in US government and politics."Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691154176
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/22/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul M. Sniderman is the Fairleigh S. Dickinson, Jr., Professor of Public Policy at Stanford University and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Edward H. Stiglitz holds a PhD in political science from Stanford University and is completing a JD at Stanford Law School.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Chapter 1: Introduction 1
Our Story 3

Chapter 2: A Reputational Theory of Party Identification and Policy Reasoning 12
Premises 12
The Institutional Basis of Party- Centered Voting 13
Characteristics of Choice Sets in Politics 16
Reputational Reasoning and Candidate Positioning 23

Chapter 3: Lessons from a Sterile Downsian Environment 34
Issues of Identity 34
A Thought Experiment: Policy Reasoning in a Sterilized Downsian Space 36
The Downsian Experiment 37
Party and Partisanship in the Absence of Party 42
Lessons from a Sterile Downsian Environment 62

Chapter 4: The Electoral Logic of Party Reputations 64
The Errors- and- Bias Interpretation of Party Identifi cation 64
The Canonical Theory of Party Identifi cation 71
Programmatic Partisans and Reputational Premiums in Policy Reasoning 77
Candidate Positioning and the Reputational Premium: The Order Rule 79
Alternative Hypotheses on Candidate Positioning 82
Replication: The Order Rule 89
When Candidate Positions and Party Reputations Conflict 92
Caveat Lector 93

Chapter 5: The Democratic Experiment: A Supply- Side Theory of Political Ideas and Institutions 95
A Reputational Theory of Party Identifi cation and Policy Reasoning 96
A Party- Centered Supply- Side Approach to the Question of Citizen Competence 100
A Paradox: Citizen Competence and Partisan Reputation 104
Coda 109

Appendix A: A Limit on the Influence of the Policy Reputations of Parties 110
Introduction 110
Reputations as Encoded Information 114
The Stickiness of Preferences 116
Can Parties Induce Polarization Spikes? 119
Replication 125
Precis 130
Appendix B Study Descriptions: General Description of Methodology 133

References 137
Index 143

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