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Empirical foundation of valence using Aldrich-McKelvey scaling

Fabian Gouret

No 2019-10, THEMA Working Papers from THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise

Abstract: This paper uses data from the 2004 pre-election survey of the American National Election Study to test empirically different ways of incorporating a valence parameter into a Downsian utility function. We call particular attention to the problem of interpersonal incomparability of responses to the liberal-conservative scale, and use the Aldrich-McKelvey’s pathbreaking method to obtain accurate distances between respondents and candidates, the key regressors. We find that the utility function the most supported by the empirical evidence, the intensity valence utility function, is the one which permits to make the better predictions for the 2004 presidential election. We also consider counterfactual analyses wherein we test if Bush, the candidate with the highest intensity valence, has dominant strategies which would have insured him to obtain a majority of the popular vote. According to the theory, it is known that the candidate with the highest intensity valence does not have such dominant strategies if the distribution of voters in the policy space is too heterogenous. Nevertheless, we show the distribution of voters in 2004 is sufficiently homogenous for Bush to have dominant strategies.

Keywords: spatial models of voting; valence; survey; Aldrich-McKelvey scaling. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 C81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol and nep-upt
Date: 2019
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