Who is Punished? Conditions Affecting Voter Evaluations of Legislators Who Do Not Compromise

Nichole M. Bauer, Laurel Harbridge Yong*, Yanna Krupnikov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In American politics, legislative compromise is often seen as a necessary and desirable aspect of policymaking, yet people also value politicians who stick to their positions. In this article, we consider these conflicting expectations of legislators and ask two intertwined questions: what conditions lead people to punish legislators for not compromising (when legislative action is at stake) and, conversely, what conditions leave people more willing to overlook a legislator’s unwillingness to engage in compromise? Relying on previous research, we suggest that legislator gender, legislator partisanship, and issue area may all affect which legislators are punished for not compromising. Relying on two national experiments, we demonstrate that the extent to which lawmakers are punished for not compromising is conditional on the intersection of the three factors in this study. In general, our results suggest that people may be most willing to overlook unwillingness to engage in compromise when party, gender and issue ownership align than when party, gender, and issue ownership are at odds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-300
Number of pages22
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Compromise
  • Congress
  • Gender
  • Issue ownership
  • Partisanship
  • Public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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