Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Evaluations of Partisan Fairness in District-Based Democracies

Citation:

Jonathan N. Katz, Gary King, and Elizabeth Rosenblatt. Forthcoming. “Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Evaluations of Partisan Fairness in District-Based Democracies.” American Political Science Review. Copy at http://j.mp/2BkgYTP
Article841 KB
Online Appendices220 KB
Theoretical Foundations and Empirical Evaluations of Partisan Fairness in District-Based Democracies

Abstract:

We clarify the theoretical foundations of partisan fairness standards for district-based democratic electoral systems, including essential assumptions and definitions that have not been recognized, formalized, or in some cases even discussed. We also offer extensive empirical evidence for assumptions with observable implications. Throughout, we follow a fundamental principle of statistical inference too often ignored in this literature -- defining the quantity of interest separately so its measures can be proven wrong, evaluated, or improved. This enables us to prove which of the many newly proposed fairness measures are statistically appropriate and which are biased, limited, or not measures of the theoretical quantity they seek to estimate at all. Because real world redistricting and gerrymandering involves complicated politics with numerous participants and conflicting goals, measures biased for partisan fairness sometimes still provide useful descriptions of other aspects of electoral systems.
Last updated on 09/27/2019