AMERICAN POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY WORKSHOP: Matias Iaryczower (Princeton), “Senate Dynamics in the Shadow of Money”

Event time: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 5:00pm through 6:15pm
Event description: 

“Senate Dynamics in the Shadow of Money”

Matias Iaryczower, Associate Professor of Politics, Princeton University

LINK TO PAPER (With Gabriel Lopez Moctezuma and Adam Meirowitz)

Abstract: Incumbent politicians seeking reelection face an inherently dynamic problem: they observe the change in their poll standing and incoming contributions, and respond by adjusting their political stances and by spending money in political advertising. In this paper, we formulate a model that captures this problem and estimate the model using data for US senators. Our empirical strategy allows us to obtain an estimate of senators’ policy preferences that discounts pandering. This approach contrasts with current methods to estimate legislators’ ideal points, which assume that all votes are sincere expressions of preference. The difference is consequential: we find that while there are some truly extreme senators, the vast majority is actually relatively moderate, and appear extreme due to electoral pressures. This finding contrasts with the conventional wisdom on the polarization of elites in American politics.

Bio: Matias Iaryczower’s field of research is Political Economy. He uses game theory and empirical methods to study how institutions and strategic considerations shape collective decision-making in courts, legislatures, and elections. One of the main lines of his theoretical research is the study of Power and Bargaining in Collective Bodies. Professor Iaryczower has studied the determinants of the power of leaders in organizations, the role of intermediaries in legislative bargaining, and whether competition between principals for influence over a group can be detrimental to its members. He is also interested – and has written about – electoral competition and political agency. His empirical work builds on the Structural Estimation approach. A key theme of his work in this area has been to understand how groups incorporate information about the relative merits of the alternatives under consideration into their decision-making process. His current empirical research focuses on the estimation of dynamic games in Congress and elections.

Sponsored jointly by ISPS, CSAP, and the Leitner Seminar in Political Economy

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