Understanding complex legislative and judicial behaviour via hierarchical ideal point estimation


Ying Lu, Department of Humanities and Social Science in the Professions, Kimball Hall, New York University, 246 Greene Street, New York, NY 10003, USA.
E-mail: ying.lu@nyu.edu


Summary.  Ideal point estimation is an important tool to study legislative and judicial voting behaviours. We propose a hierarchical ideal point estimation framework that directly models complex voting behaviours on the basis of the characteristics of the political actors and the votes that they cast. Through simulations and empirical examples we show that this framework holds good promise for resolving many unsettled issues, such as the multi-dimensional aspects of ideology, and the effects of political parties. As a companion to this paper, we offer an easy-to-use R package that implements the methods discussed.