ABSTRACT

This paper theoretically investigates the link between the U.S. state legislative professionalization and the incidence of divided government. Morris P. Fiorina provides a hypothesis attributing the growth of divided government to state legislative professionalization, but Peverill Squire only finds a weak relationship between these two variables. I argue that the institutional effect of professionalization has not been captured correctly. Including voter side decision making processes, I hypothesize that there are two different effects of professionalization on the divided government. First, legislative professionalization increases the incumbency advantage which encourages split ticket voting behavior and the occurrence of divided government. Second, based on a balancing theory, I propose that there is a negative institutional effect of legislative professionalization. Based on these hypotheses I propose that the incumbency benefit should be controlled for in order to capture the institutional effect of professionalization on voters’ incentives to elect a divided government.

KEYWORD

legislative professionalization, divided government, balancing theory, incumbency advantage, split-ticket voting

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