Why party leaders are more extreme than their members : modeling sequential elimination elections in the US house of representatives

McGann, AJ and Grofman, B and Koetzle, W (2002) Why party leaders are more extreme than their members : modeling sequential elimination elections in the US house of representatives. Public Choice, 113 (3-4). pp. 337-356. ISSN 0048-5829

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Abstract

Grofman et al. (forthcoming) find that party leaders in the U. S. House of Representatives tend to be more extreme than the median member of their party, and that they tend to come from the party's ideological "heartland" between the median and the mode. This paper shows that if the distribution of preferences is skewed (as is the case with both parties in the House), then we should expect sequential elimination elections to choose on average leaders between the median and modal positions. We show that this is the case whether or not the party is factionalized.