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

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

by Paul M. Sniderman, Edward H. Stiglitz


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The Reputational Premium: A Theory of Party Identification and Policy Reasoning by Paul M. Sniderman, Edward H. Stiglitz

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691154145
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 07/22/2012
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About 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.

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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