Creating Cross-Institutional Preference Measures: Methodological Improvements for Studying Constraints on the Supreme Court

February 1, 2004

Funding: National Science Foundation

Summary: Since the founding of the United States, interaction between the Supreme Court and other political actors has been an important element of the American political landscape. Understanding the nature and implications of the interactions between the modern Court and other political actors has been an ongoing intellectual challenge. The key problem is the difficulty of comparing the policy preferences of political actors across institutional boundaries. Bailey and Maltzman propose a three-part research design to address these needs. First, Bailey and Maltzman propose undertaking extensive original data collection of cross-institutional position taking. These data provide the foundation for comparing preferences of justices, legislators, the president, and interest groups. Second, Bailey and Maltzman propose analyzing these data with novel preference measurement techniques to create ideal point estimates that are comparable across institutions. Third, they propose using the measures to model the influence of external actors on Supreme Court decision making.



Forrest Maltzman