International Journal of Business and Social Science

ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijbss

"An Empirical Examination of the Impetus for Political Party Defection"
Jim F. Couch, Taylor P. Stevenson

It is relatively rare for members of the U.S. Congress to change their party affiliation with the contemporary two-party system being quite stable. Existing explanations of party switches include personal ideological concerns, constituency preferences and electoral concerns as well as coveted committee assignments. In this paper we will use a rational choice model which considers political payoffs from various sources and federal earmarks in addition to the current explanations. We use federal spending by state. We find significant increases in federal expendituresin the year following a change in party affiliation of the state’s member of congress. We also examine the campaign finances of the contemporary party defectors.

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