University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Voters as Obstacles to Legislative Compromise

Event date/time: 

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 11:00am


Integrative Learning Center N400

Professor Dan Butler will give a talk on March 27th, sponsored by UMass Poll and the Department of Political Science.

Abstract: Legislative solutions to pressing but controversial problems usually require compromise. Evaluating lawmakers’ willingness to support policy compromises that only partially achieve a desired outcome and the factors that explain opposition to compromise proposals is key to our understanding of legislative productivity. Using two samples of elected officials, sitting state legislators and elected city officials, we find that around a quarter of officials reject proposals that move policy in their preferred direction, which is surprising given the prediction of spatial models of proximity voting that they should vote yes. Moreover, the legislators who reject compromise proposals tend to be those who perceive that their voters are likely to punish them for compromising. The results suggest that officials who frequently vote against policies that are in their own interest are exacerbating the current gridlock.


Amherst, MA 01003
United States
650 N PLEASANT ST Amherst MA