Document Type



"The Colby Townsend Prize Paper."


Standard theories borrowed from political science and economics shed new light on the perceived harms of political gerrymandering and cast doubt on whether self-interested district line-drawing can systematically distort the will of the voters. A detailed theory of voting and representation indicates that elections provide a robust system of accountability. Moreover, the internal logic of this system appears to be immune to political gerrymandering. A brief, initial foray into data on elections and representation from the 91st to the 109th Congresses provides tentative support for this hypothesis, although the analysis is admittedly inconclusive. The results are tantalizing enough, however, to motivate further and more sophisticated efforts to test the theory.

Date of Authorship for this Version

May 2007