Strategic Mobilization: Why Disproportional Districts Encourage Partisan Mobilization Efforts
Many scholars suggest that proportional representation increases party mobilization by creating nationally competitive districts that give parties an incentive to mobilize everywhere. This paper provides theoretical and empirical evidence that brings this claim into question. I propose, unlike earlier scholars, that the positive effect of district competitiveness on party mobilization efforts increases as electoral districts become more disproportional, arguing that disproportionality itself encourages mobilization and exaggerates the impact of competitiveness on mobilization. Game-theoretic predictions tested with individual-level survey data from national legislative elections show mobilization levels are much higher and that district competitiveness has a much larger positive effect on parties’ mobilization efforts in single-member districts. Overall, the theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that proportional electoral rules give parties no strong incentive to mobilize anywhere.
- Rainey, Carlisle. "Strategic Mobilization: Why Disproportional Districts Encourage Partisan Mobilization Efforts." Under Review. [Project Page]
Arguing for a Negligible Effect
Political scientists often theorize that an explanatory variable should have ``no effect'' and support this claim by demonstrating that its estimate is not statistically significant. This empirical argument is quite weak, but I introduce applied researchers to simple, powerful tools that can strengthen their arguments for this hypothesis. With several supporting examples, I illustrate that researchers can use 90\% confidence intervals to argue against meaningful effects and provide persuasive evidence for their hypothesis.
- Rainey, Carlisle. "Arguing for a Negligible Effect." Revised and resubmitted to the American Journal of Political Science. [Project Page]
Compression and Conditional Effects
Previous research in political methodology argues that researchers do not need to include a product term in a logistic regression model to test for interaction if they suspect interaction due to compression alone. I disagree with this claim and offer analytical arguments and simulation evidence that when researchers incorrectly theorize interaction, models without a product term bias the researcher, sometimes heavily, toward finding interaction. However, simulation studies also show that models with a product term fit a broad range of non-interactive relationships surprisingly well, enabling analysts to remove most of the bias toward finding interaction by simply including a product term.
- Rainey, Carlisle. "Compression and Conditional Effects." Under Review. [Project Page]