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Michael A. Bailey

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Working Papers

Supreme Court

·         Measuring Ideology on the Courts

Measuring ideology on the courts is important, yet challenging.  This paper discusses various approaches, ranging from calculating percent conservative scores to measures based on sophisticated measurement models, emphasizing two themes.  First, scholars should not assume that all ideological measures work in all research contexts.  I identify specific instances in which sophisticated measures produce questionable results. Second, ideology on the court is distinctive from ideology among elected officials, particularly on the Supreme Court not only because justices are influenced by legal factors, but also because the small size of the Court makes idiosyncratic world views of justices (and median justices in particular) decisive.  The result is that the court's decisions may lack the ideological coherence more typically observed in Congress.  While the task of measuring ideology on the courts may seem technical, it is in fact highly politically relevant and quite unsettled. The final part of this paper explores the competing and evolving measures of ideology for the Roberts Court.

 

Campaign Finance

·         Do Campaign Contributions Lead to Policies That Favor the Wealthy? An Examination of Taxing and Spending in the American States

 

Understanding if and how campaign contributions affect policy is important for many policy and normative debates.  In this paper, I use data on gubernatorial spending and state level policy from 1978 to 2000 to assess three competing perspectives on money in politics: the wealth bias perspective, the minimal effects perspective and the neo-pluralist perspective.  The results are most consistent with the neo-pluralist perspective, as increased campaign spending appears to have systematic effects (contradicting the minimal effects thesis) and that these effects are not in the direction of policies benefiting the wealthy (contradicting the wealth bias perspective).  Campaign spending is associated with higher spending in areas where spending has broad public support and is associated with lower spending where that is not the case.

 

You may also be interested in the following published and forthcoming works.

 

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