Publication Date

April 2016

Advisor(s)

Sarah Wiliarty

Major

Government

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis examines whether the Clean Elections programs of Arizona, Maine, and Connecticut are having an impact on polarization in these state legislatures. I rely upon an original dataset of participation rates in these programs, US Census data, and Shor-McCarty NP scores of legislator ideology. I find that Clean Elections programs facilitate increased polarization in certain cases, and increased liberalism in others, though these findings are highly contextualized. That these programs have an ideological component which is impacting electoral decisions challenges policymakers to take a more comprehensive view when looking to adopt a system of full public financing.

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