Thursday, May 30, 2013

10 Fascinating Things About State Politics You Probably Didn’t Know

States place industrial plants near downwind borders to pass on environmental costs, state legislatures have stopped growing to keep up with population growth, and other lessons from the 13th annual State Politics and Policy Conference.


I just came back from the 13th annual State Politics and Policy Conference, held this year in Iowa City, Iowa. I’m a big fan of this conference—it reliably features really innovative work on state politics, which unfortunately rarely gets a lot of national (or international) attention. The lessons we glean from state politics are actually incredibly valuable for people concerned with American politics. The U.S. state political systems are all largely based on the federal government, but they feature interesting variations and quirks that offer useful lessons about things like governing structures, representation, regulations, reform, and so on.

Anyway, here are a few interesting things I learned during my visit to the conference this year. I’ve linked the relevant paper or poster where available.

01. Elected judges write in more readable language than appointed judges do. However, elected judges facing a potentially difficult re-election campaign use more obfuscatory language on controversial decisions. (Michael Nelson)

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