Economic behavior and the partisan perceptual screen

Mary C. McGrath*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-383
Number of pages21
JournalQuarterly Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 20 2017


  • Political economy
  • Political parties
  • Political psychology
  • Political science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Economic behavior and the partisan perceptual screen'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this