New publication with Garret Binding in Political Analysis.


Conventional multidimensional statistical models of roll call votes assume that legislators’ preferences are additively separable over dimensions. In this article, we introduce an item response model of roll call votes that allows for non-separability over latent dimensions. Conceptually, non-separability matters if outcomes over dimensions are related rather than independent in legislators’ decisions. Monte Carlo simulations highlight that separable item response models of roll call votes capture non-separability via correlated ideal points and higher salience of a primary dimension. We apply our model to the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament. In both settings, we find that legislators’ preferences over two basic dimensions are non-separable. These results have general implications for our understanding of legislative decision-making, as well as for empirical descriptions of preferences in legislatures.

(Binding & Stoetzer, 2022)