79 research outputs found

    Politics in forgotten governments: the partisan composition of county legislatures and county fiscal policies

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    County governments are a crucial component of the fabric of American democracy. Yet there has been almost no previous research on the policy effects of the partisan composition of county governments. Most counties in the United States have small legislatures, usually called commissions or councils, that set their budgets and other policies. In this study, we examine whether counties with Democratic legislators spend more than counties with Republican ones. We assemble an original data set of 10,708 elections in approximately 298 medium and large counties over the past 25 years. Based on a regression discontinuity design, we find that electing a Democratic legislator rather than a Republican one leads the average county to increase spending by about 5%. Overall, our findings contribute to a growing literature on the policy consequences of partisan control of state and local government. They show that the partisan selection of county legislators has important policy effects in county governments.Accepted manuscrip

    Measuring Constituent Policy Preferences in Congress, State Legislatures, and Cities

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    Little is known about the American public’s policy preferences at the level of Congressional districts, state legislative districts, and local municipalities. In this article, we overcome the limited sample sizes that have hindered previous research by jointly scaling the policy preferences of 275,000 Americans based on their responses to policy questions. We combine this large dataset of Americans’ policy preferences with recent advances in opinion estimation to estimate the preferences of every state, congressional district, state legislative district, and large city. We show that our estimates outperform previous measures of citizens’ policy preferences. These new estimates enable scholars to examine representation at a variety of geographic levels. We demonstrate the utility of these estimates through applications of our measures to examine representation in state legislatures and city governments

    Mayoral Partisanship and the Size of Municipal Government

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    Does it matter for municipal policy which party controls the mayorship in municipal government? The bulk of the existing evidence says no. But there are a variety of theoretical reasons to believe that mayoral partisanship should affect municipal policy. We examine the impact of mayoral partisanship in nearly 1,000 elections in medium and large cities over the past 60 years. In contrast to previous work, we find that mayoral partisanship has a significant impact on the size of municipal government. Democratic mayors spend substantially more than Republican mayors. In order to pay for this spending, Democratic mayors issue substantially more debt than Republican mayors and pay more in interest. Our findings show that mayoral partisanship matters for city policy. Our findings add to a growing literature indicating that the constraints imposed on city policy making do not prevent public opinion and elections from having a meaningful impact on municipal policy

    Non-Retrogression Without Law

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    For five straight cycles (the 1970s through the 2010s), Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act dominated redistricting in states covered by the provision. In these states, district plans had to be precleared with federal authorities before they could be implemented. Preclearance was granted only if plans wouldn’t retrogress, that is, reduce minority representation. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, Section 5 is no longer operative. So what happened to minority representation in formerly covered states after Section 5’s protections were withdrawn? This Article is the first to tackle this important question. We examine all states’ district plans before and after the 2020 round of redistricting at the congressional, state senate, and state house levels. Our primary finding is that there was little retrogression in formerly covered states. In sum, the number of minority ability districts in these states actually rose slightly. We also show that formerly covered states were largely indistinguishable from formerly uncovered states in terms of retrogression. If anything, states unaffected by Shelby County retrogressed marginally more than did states impacted by the ruling. Lastly, we begin to probe some of the factors that might explain this surprising pattern. One possible explanation is the status quo bias of many mapmakers, which is reflected in their tendency to keep minority representation constant. Another potential driver is many line-drawers’ reluctance to use retrogression as a partisan weapon. This reluctance is evident in the similar records of all redistricting authorities with respect to retrogression, as well as in the absence of any relationship between retrogression and change in plans’ partisan performance

    Representation in Municipal Government

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    Municipal governments play a vital role in American democracy, as well as in governments around the world. Despite this, little is known about the degree to which cities are responsive to the views of their citizens. In the past, the unavailability of data on the policy preferences of citizens at the municipal level has limited scholars' ability to study the responsiveness of municipal government. We overcome this problem by using recent advances in opinion estimation to measure the mean policy conservatism in every U.S. city and town with a population above 20,000 people. Despite the supposition in the literature that municipal politics are non-ideological, we find that the policies enacted by cities across a range of policy areas correspond with the liberal-conservative positions of their citizens on national policy issues. In addition, we consider the influence of institutions, such as the presence of an elected mayor, the popular initiative, partisan elections, term limits, and at-large elections. Our results show that these institutions have little consistent impact on policy responsiveness in municipal government. These results demonstrate a robust role for citizen policy preferences in determining municipal policy outcomes, but cast doubt on the hypothesis that simple institutional reforms enhance responsiveness in municipal governments

    US public opinion regarding proposed limits on resident physician work hours

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>In both Europe and the US, resident physician work hour reduction has been a source of controversy within academic medicine. In 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended a reduction in resident physician work hours. We sought to assess the American public perspective on this issue.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>We conducted a national survey of 1,200 representative members of the public via random digit telephone dialing in order to describe US public opinion on resident physician work hour regulation, particularly with reference to the IOM recommendations.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Respondents estimated that resident physicians currently work 12.9-h shifts (95% CI 12.5 to 13.3 h) and 58.3-h work weeks (95% CI 57.3 to 59.3 h). They believed the maximum shift duration should be 10.9 h (95% CI 10.6 to 11.3 h) and the maximum work week should be 50 h (95% CI 49.4 to 50.8 h), with 1% approving of shifts lasting >24 h (95% CI 0.6% to 2%). A total of 81% (95% CI 79% to 84%) believed reducing resident physician work hours would be very or somewhat effective in reducing medical errors, and 68% (95% CI 65% to 71%) favored the IOM proposal that resident physicians not work more than 16 h over an alternative IOM proposal permitting 30-h shifts with ≥5 h protected sleep time. In all, 81% believed patients should be informed if a treating resident physician had been working for >24 h and 80% (95% CI 78% to 83%) would then want a different doctor.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>The American public overwhelmingly favors discontinuation of the 30-h shifts without protected sleep routinely worked by US resident physicians and strongly supports implementation of restrictions on resident physician work hours that are as strict, or stricter, than those proposed by the IOM. Strong support exists to restrict resident physicians' work to 16 or fewer consecutive hours, similar to current limits in New Zealand, the UK and the rest of Europe.</p

    Metabolites of Purine Nucleoside Phosphorylase (NP) in Serum Have the Potential to Delineate Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma

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    Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma (PDAC), the fourth highest cause of cancer related deaths in the United States, has the most aggressive presentation resulting in a very short median survival time for the affected patients. Early detection of PDAC is confounded by lack of specific markers that has motivated the use of high throughput molecular approaches to delineate potential biomarkers. To pursue identification of a distinct marker, this study profiled the secretory proteome in 16 PDAC, 2 carcinoma in situ (CIS) and 7 benign patients using label-free mass spectrometry coupled to 1D-SDS-PAGE and Strong Cation-Exchange Chromatography (SCX). A total of 431 proteins were detected of which 56 were found to be significantly elevated in PDAC. Included in this differential set were Parkinson disease autosomal recessive, early onset 7 (PARK 7) and Alpha Synuclein (aSyn), both of which are known to be pathognomonic to Parkinson's disease as well as metabolic enzymes like Purine Nucleoside Phosphorylase (NP) which has been exploited as therapeutic target in cancers. Tissue Microarray analysis confirmed higher expression of aSyn and NP in ductal epithelia of pancreatic tumors compared to benign ducts. Furthermore, extent of both aSyn and NP staining positively correlated with tumor stage and perineural invasion while their intensity of staining correlated with the existence of metastatic lesions in the PDAC tissues. From the biomarker perspective, NP protein levels were higher in PDAC sera and furthermore serum levels of its downstream metabolites guanosine and adenosine were able to distinguish PDAC from benign in an unsupervised hierarchical classification model. Overall, this study for the first time describes elevated levels of aSyn in PDAC as well as highlights the potential of evaluating NP protein expression and levels of its downstream metabolites to develop a multiplex panel for non-invasive detection of PDAC

    Democracy in America

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    This course examines the functioning of democracy in the U.S. beginning with the theoretical foundations of democratic representation. It explores how the views of the public influence policy making. It also examines factors, such as malapportionment, that lead to non-majoritarian outcomes. Evidence on how well policy outcomes reflect public opinion is reviewed, and whether certain groups are over or under-represented in the policy process. Also discussed are reforms that might make our democracy more responsive to the American public

    Constitutional Law: Structures of Power and Individual Rights

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    This course examines American constitutional law in historical and modern context. It focuses closely on the constitutional text and Supreme Court case law. It explores the allocation of decision-making authority among government institutions, including the distribution of power across the branches of the federal government and between the federal and state governments. The course also examines the guarantees of individual rights and liberties stemming from the due process, equal protection, and other clauses in the Bill of Rights and post Civil War amendments.AcknowledgmentsProfessor Warshaw would like to acknowledge the training in Constitutional Law he received from Gary J. Jacobsohn, Kathleen Sullivan, and Norman Spaulding.&nbsp;&nbsp