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Quantifying Dynamic Responsiveness: Evidence from Minimum Wage Laws

Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations
Thursday, October 17, 2019, 5:20 pm – 7:00 pm

ABSTRACT |To what extent does policy change reflect changes in mass preferences in U.S. states? Current approaches fail to quantify dynamic responsiveness because they fail to compare preferences and policies on meaningful scales or lack repeated measures on opinion and policy. In this note, we overcome this issue by estimating Americans’ preferences on the minimum wage and compare them to observed policies in each state from 2013 to 2019. As we measure both preferences and policies on the same scale, we can quantify the association between changes in policy outcomes and preferences within states. Moreover, we can also use the resulting data to track policy bias. We demonstrate that while minimum wages laws respond to corresponding changes in preferences such dynamic responsiveness does little to reduce policy bias. While the fixed-effect regressions indicate that the average relationship between preference change and policy change was close to 1, policy bias remained relatively stable, ranging from $1.75 to $2.2.5.

BIO | Gábor Simonovits is Assistant Professor at the Political Science Department at Central European University. He received his PhD in Politics from New York University in 2018 and he is an alumnus of CEU where he obtained a MA degree in Economics in 2011. His research focuses on both substantive and methodological issues pertaining to the study of public opinion including the study of attitudes towards public policies in the U.S. and inter-group prejudice in Hungary. He has also done work in the field of quantitative methods with a focus on how researcher incentives can lead to the underrepresentation of null findings in published experimental studies. His work has been published or are forthcoming in leading journals including Science, the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science and the Journal of Politics. At CEU, Gabor teaches courses on research methods and political behaviour.