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Much Ado About Very Little: Reply to Herron

  • Lawrence S. Rothenberg (a1) and Mitchell S. Sanders (a2)
  • In response to commentaries on:


While Herron (2004, Political Analysis 12:182–190) is correct that sensitivity to changes in underlying scale and how they affect estimates and inferences is generally important, our assumption in Rothenberg and Sanders (2000, American Journal of Political Science 44:310–319) that W-NOMINATE scales can be directly compared from one Congress to another to study legislative shirking is quite defensible because scale variability is not a substantial problem. Not only are the assumptions in our original analysis regarding variability very reasonable, because any variability is quite small, but effects on consistency are marginal and, to the degree that they are relevant, indicate that our test of the shirking hypothesis is conservative. Furthermore, even generous estimates of variability in W-NOMINATE between one immediate Congress and another have little impact on results. In addition, Herron's analysis includes an unaddressed censoring problem that again, while unlikely to have much substantive relevance, indicates that Rothenberg and Sanders have worked against themselves in trying to find shirking. In conclusion, the issues that Herron highlights are of marginal consequence for the original analysis and, to the extent they matter, only buttress the findings generated and the inferences drawn.



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Chiou, Fang-Yi, and Rothenberg, Lawrence S. 2003. “When Pivotal Politics Meets Partisan Politics.” American Journal of Political Science 47: 503522.
Groseclose, Tim, Levitt, Steven D., and Snyder, James M. Jr. 1999. “Comparing Interest Group Scores across Time and Chambers: Adjusted ADA Scores for the U.S. Congress.” American Political Science Review 93: 3350.
Herron, Michael C. 2004. “Studying Dynamics in Legislator Ideal Points: Scale Matters.” Political Analysis 12: 182190.
Poole, Keith T., and Rosenthal, Howard. 1998. “The Dynamics of Interest Group Evaluations in Congress.” Public Choice 97: 323361.
Rothenberg, Lawrence S., and Sanders, Mitchell. 2000. “Severing the Electoral Connection: Shirking in the Contemporary Congress.” American Journal of Political Science 44: 310319.
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Much Ado About Very Little: Reply to Herron

  • Lawrence S. Rothenberg (a1) and Mitchell S. Sanders (a2)
  • In response to commentaries on:


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