Nathan J. Canen
Department of Economics
University of Houston
3623 Cullen Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-5019
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|September 2018||Unbundling Polarization|
with Chad Kendall, Francesco Trebbi: w25110
This paper investigates the determinants of political polarization, a phenomenon of increasing relevance in Western democracies. How much of polarization is driven by divergence in the ideologies of politicians? How much is instead the result of changes in the capacity of parties to control their members? We use detailed internal information on party discipline in the context of the U.S. Congress – whip count data for 1977-1986 – to identify and structurally estimate an economic model of legislative activity where agenda selection, party discipline, and member votes are endogenous. The model delivers estimates of the ideological preferences of politicians, the extent of party control, and allows us to assess the effects of polarization through agenda setting (i.e. which alternatives to a s...
|October 2016||Endogenous Network Formation in Congress|
with Francesco Trebbi: w22756
This paper presents and structurally estimates a model of endogenous network formation and legislative activity of career-motivated politicians. Employing data on socialization and legislative effort of members of the 105th-110th U.S. Congresses, our model reconciles a set of empirical regularities, including: recent trends in Congressional productivity; the complementarity of socialization processes and legislative activities in the House of Representatives; substantial heterogeneity across legislators in terms of effort and success rate in passing specific legislation. We avoid taking the social structure of Congress as exogenously given and instead embed it in a model of endogenous network formation useful for developing relevant counterfactuals, including some pertinent to the congress...