Still the Same? Revealed Preferences and Ideological Self-Perception Among Former Members of Congress

Adam J. Ramey, Jonathan D. Klingler, Gary E. Hollibaugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

For years, countless scholars have posited the role of constituency and party pressure on legislators’ roll call voting records. Indeed, though popular estimates of legislators’ preferences often come from roll call data (e.g., DW-NOMINATE scores), most scholars are careful to note that these are not necessarily measures of ideology per se but rather of legislators’ revealed preferences—that is, they reflect both legislators’ ideological commitments as well as the influence of party and constituency. In this paper, we offer fairly robust evidence that existing measures of legislator behavior may be closer to their preferences than once thought. Using a novel survey of former members of the House of Representatives, we leverage the severing of the electoral connection and lack of institutional party pressure to show that legislators’ preferences as measured by existing methods closely mirror their own perceptions of themselves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Politics Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • congress
  • elite surveys
  • ideal points
  • ideology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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