Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 11 > Issue 4

Economic Behavior and the Partisan Perceptual Screen

Mary C. McGrath, Northwestern University, USA, mary.mcgrath@northwestern.edu
Suggested Citation
Mary C. McGrath (2017), "Economic Behavior and the Partisan Perceptual Screen", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 11: No. 4, pp 363-383. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00015100

Publication Date: 20 Feb 2017
© 2017 M. C. McGrath
Behavioral Decision Making,  Political economy,  Political psychology,  Political parties
Political economyPolitical psychologyPolitical partiesPolitical science


Download article
In this article:
Electoral Uncertainty and Implications for 1996 
Appendix - Figure A1 


Partisans report different perceptions from the same set of facts. According to the perceptual screen hypothesis, this difference arises because partisans perceive different realities. An alternative hypothesis is that partisans take even fact-based questions as an opportunity to voice support for their team. In 2009, Gerber and Huber conducted the first behavioral test of the perceptual screen hypothesis outside of the lab. I re-analyze Gerber and Huber’s original data and collect new data from two additional U.S. elections. Gerber and Huber’s finding of a relationship between partisanship and economic behavior does not hold when observations from a single state-year (Texas in 1996) are excluded from their analysis. Out-of-sample replication based on the two U.S. presidential elections since the original study similarly shows no evidence of an effect. Given these results, the balance of evidence tips toward the conclusion that economic perceptions are not filtered through partisanship.