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      Rejecting Compromise: Legislators’ Fear of Primary Voters in Hanover

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      May 5, 2020

      Tuesday  12:15 PM

      1 Penn Plz # 2406
      Hanover, New Hampshire 03755

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      Rejecting Compromise: Legislators’ Fear of Primary Voters

      Legislative solutions to pressing problems like balancing the budget, climate change and poverty usually require compromise, but we show that many legislators at different levels of government reject compromise proposals that move policy in their preferred direction. Why do legislators reject such compromise offers? We find that legislators exacerbate gridlock by rejecting compromise proposals because they fear being punished in primary elections. In this way, legislators’ electoral interests can cause them to act in ways that hurt their policy interests and may lead to representation of the uncompromising positions held by a subset of their voters at the expense of the broader electorates’ preferences.  While this rejection of compromise due to fear of primary voter punishment is likely exacerbating gridlock, we show that negotiating outside of the public spotlight may improve the likelihood of achieving compromise.

      Categories: Education | University & Alumni

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