Archive for August 7, 2012
When I run a quantitative analysis, I typically have some sort of expectation as to what I will find. Sometimes I’m surprised by the results. For example, in “Take 2: Could Employing Tax Cuts Tax Employment?” I discovered that, while higher taxes on the top 20 percent of earners corresponds to increased employment, higher taxes on the next-highest quintile corresponds to lower employment. It’s not an outcome I would have predicted.
Today is another such time. In this case, I was looking at the relative representation of each American. To explain what I mean by this requires a bit of background.
As you’re surely aware, each state receives the representation of two Senators in Congress, regardless of population. Additionally, each state receives the representation of at least one Representative in Congress, while additional Representatives are provided at a rate proportional to the state’s population. This, of course, means that the democratic concept of “one man, one vote” doesn’t apply to our representative democracy, even though our national colloquial rhetoric regularly implies otherwise.
Our congressional structure should mean in theory is that there is a wide disparity in the number of people represented by each Senator, but a small disparity in the number of people represented by each Representative. Moreover, since the red states tend to be sparsely populated compared to the blue states, one would expect to find that Republican Senators represent fewer people than Democratic Senators. We shouldn’t expect to see any such disparity in the House.
I put these hypotheses to the test. (more…)