A Caltech Library Service

Some Problems in Studying the Effects of Resource Allocation in Congressional Elections

Fiorina, Morris P. (1981) Some Problems in Studying the Effects of Resource Allocation in Congressional Elections. American Journal of Political Science, 25 (3). pp. 543-567. ISSN 0092-5853. doi:10.2307/2110818.

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


After analyzing (1) data aggregated to the congressional district level, and (2) individual-level data from the 1978 CPS election survey, Johannes and McAdams conclude that congressional casework has no electoral impact. The following commentary explains such null findings as the product of oversimplistic expectations and methodological weaknesses. Specifically, the Johannes and McAdams aggregate data analysis is misspecified on two counts. First, it attempts to reduce to a single regression equation a temporal sequence in which casework activity and electoral outcomes are mutually intertwined. Second, even were such a drastic reduction possible, the single equation employed would be poorly specified because of inattention to the differential productivity of cases, constituents, and representatives. The individual-level analysis also is rife with statistical problems chief among which is multicollinearity aggravated by small numbers of cases. Analyses that do what is possible to minimize such problems reveal a statistically and substantively significant impact of casework on electoral outcomes. Further analyses that go beyond the Johannes and McAdams limitation of casework effects to the individuals directly helped suggest that the electoral effects of an incumbent's reputation for service may approach the effects of party identification.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemWorking Paper
Other Contributors:
ContributionOther Contributors NameIdentifierPersonID (may be blank)
CollaboratorCain, Bruce E.Cain-B-EUNSPECIFIED
Additional Information:© 1981 by the University of Texas Press. Manuscript submitted 21 August 1980; Final manuscript received 10 November 1980. The research reported in this paper is part of a larger project taken in collaboration with Bruce Cain and John Ferejohn and supported by the National Science Foundation (Soc 78-15413). This paper relies heavily on data from the 1978 American National Election Study of the Center for Political Studies of the University of Michigan (CPS/NES). Neither the National Science Foundation nor CPS/NES responsible for the interpretations offered herein. Formerly SSWP 344.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Incumbents, Voting, Congressional elections, Political parties, Political science, Political candidates, Seniority, Congressional districts, Congressional voting, Constituents
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171117-152211809
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83311
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:18 Nov 2017 00:14
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:57

Repository Staff Only: item control page