A Unified Method of Evaluating Electoral Systems and Redistricting Plans

Citation:

Andrew Gelman and Gary King. 1994. “A Unified Method of Evaluating Electoral Systems and Redistricting Plans.” American Journal of Political Science, 38: 514–554. Copy at http://j.mp/kDozFf
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A Unified Method of Evaluating Electoral Systems and Redistricting Plans

Abstract:

We derive a unified statistical method with which one can produce substantially improved definitions and estimates of almost any feature of two-party electoral systems that can be defined based on district vote shares. Our single method enables one to calculate more efficient estimates, with more trustworthy assessments of their uncertainty, than each of the separate multifarious existing measures of partisan bias, electoral responsiveness, seats-votes curves, expected or predicted vote in each district in a legislature, the probability that a given party will win the seat in each district, the proportion of incumbents or others who will lose their seats, the proportion of women or minority candidates to be elected, the incumbency advantage and other causal effects, the likely effects on the electoral system and district votes of proposed electoral reforms, such as term limitations, campaign spending limits, and drawing majority-minority districts, and numerous others. To illustrate, we estimate the partisan bias and electoral responsiveness of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1900 and evaluate the fairness of competing redistricting plans for the 1992 Ohio state legislature.
Last updated on 07/26/2013