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Title: Essays on Elections and Responsiveness in the United States
Authors: Smith, William Robert
Advisors: McCarty, Nolan
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Accountability
American Politics
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Voting is the primary tool voters have at their disposal when seeking to shape policy. Politicians, for their part, are aware of the primacy of elections in their political careers. Yet voters in the United States are not provided the opportunity to vote for a particular party or bundle of policy positions, but instead for individual candidates. This dissertation explores the approach voters take when selecting candidates, evaluating the tradeoffs they make between the issue positions of candidates, their political affiliations, and their personal traits. I find evidence, in line with standard modeling assumptions, that voters weigh personal traits less heavily the larger the issue advantage one candidate holds over the other and that this finding extends to tradeoffs between partisanship and personal quality. I also find mixed evidence of partisan double standards in rewarding or punishing candidates for their personal traits. Using a formal model, I show that politicians, for their part, care about the preferences of their constituents, but that factors such as their personal desirability or their competence can affect their adherence to those preferences.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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