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Does democracy “suffer” from diversity? Issue representation and diversity in senate elections

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Abstract

Several recent studies examine the degree to which congressional behavior affects candidates’ electoral fortunes (e.g., Carson, 2005). Research examining electoral competitiveness (Bond, Campbell, & Cottrill, 2001; Koetzle, 1998) and roll call voting (Bailey & Brady, 1998; Jones, 2003) finds that diversity in the electorate mediates the impact of numerous variables upon election outcomes and representation. However, the influence of diversity on other modes of representation – such as the policy positions taken by Senate candidates–remains unexplored. We investigate the link between representation and Senate candidates’ policy positions and thereby examine the degree to which voter diversity affects candidates’ policy responsiveness. We find that diversity significantly influences responsiveness, both directly and indirectly – candidates in homogenous states are more responsive to constituents than are candidates in heterogeneous states.

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Correspondence to Benjamin G. Bishin.

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Bishin, B.G., Dow, J.K. & Adams, J. Does democracy “suffer” from diversity? Issue representation and diversity in senate elections. Public Choice 129, 201–215 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-006-9024-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-006-9024-1

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