Gyung-Ho Jeong

University of British Columbia
Political Science

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My research interests include US Politics, Political Economy, and Political Methodology. In particular, I am interested in legislative politics of public policies on immigration, foreign trade, energy, and civil rights.

How Preferences Change Institutions: The 1978 Energy Act, Journal of Politics 2014, 72(2) 430-445. (with William R. Lowry, Gary J. Miller, and Itai Sened.)
Abstract: In this article, we advance a generic theory of institutional change and illustrate it through a study of the Gas Deregulation Act of 1977–78. The passage of the Act provides an informative case study about institutional change as an innovative postcloture filibuster was implemented, and then defeated, in the course of the debate. Contrary to Shepsle’s argument that institutions determine outcomes, we argue that the legislative majority shaped the institution to get the policy outcome it wanted. We find evidence that negotiations among competing coalitions constrained outcomes to be inside the uncovered set. When the filibuster-related rules threatened to lead to an outcome outside of the uncovered set, the rules were changed to avoid this outcome. Our analysis calls into question both the view of majority rule as generically leading to chaos and the view that institutions are the essential tool to overcome such instability.
Congressional Politics of U.S. Immigration Reforms: Legislative Outcomes Under Multidimensional Negotiations,'' Political Research Quarterly 2013, 66(3) 600-614.
Abstract: How are legislative outcomes shaped by multidimensional negotiations? Examining the legislative politics of U.S. immigration reforms, I show how alternating coalitions in multidimensional negotiations produce centrist legislative outcomes. In doing so, this article sheds light on a puzzling aspect of immigration policy—namely, the gap that exists between public opinion and legislative outcomes. My investigation of major immigration bills in 1986, 1996, and 2006 shows that the multidimensional nature of immigration debates contributed to the lack of dramatic reforms, by allowing legislative minorities to form alternating coalitions to block any dramatic changes.
Jeong, Gyung-Ho, Gary Miller, and Andrew Sobel. 2009. "Political Compromise and Bureaucratic Structure: The Political Origins of the Federal Reserve System," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 25(2): 472--498.
Abstract: What is the origin of the structural independence of the Federal Reserve System? Unlike existing explanations on central bank independence, we show that the structural independence of the Fed is not the result of intentional design but a product of compromise among disparate groups. Using agenda-constrained ideal point estimation techniques to estimate both the preferences of Senators on key questions of Fed structure and the locations of alternative forms of the bill with respect to those preferences, we show that the structural features of the Fed in final bill differed markedly from the original preferences of legislators representing competing groups, and that the result was a compromise that offered the prospect of significant independence for the new agency. The Fed case shows that political compromise can provide useful bureaucratic insulation when the short-term incentives of political principals promote unstable, self-seeking policy choices.
Jeong, Gyung-Ho. 2008. “Testing the Predictions of the Multidimensional Spatial Voting Model with Roll Call Data.” Political Analysis 16 (2): 179–196.
Abstract: This paper develops a procedure for locating proposals and legislators in a multidimensional policy space by applying agenda-constrained ideal point estimation. Placing proposals and legislators on the same scale allows an empirical test of the predictions of the spatial voting model. I illustrate this procedure by testing the predictive power of the uncovered set---a solution concept of the multidimensional spatial voting model---using roll call data from the U.S. Senate. Since empirical tests of the predictive power of the uncovered set have been limited to experimental data, this is the first empirical test of the concept's predictive power using real world data.
Jeong, Gyung-Ho, Gary Miller, and Itai Sened. 2009. “Closing the Deal: Negotiating Civil Rights Legislation,” American Political Science Review 103 (4): 588–606.
Abstract: Our investigation of the Senate politics of four major civil rights acts indicates that they did not result from winning coalitions bulldozing helpless minorities, nor did they result from some unpredictable chaotic process. These critical bills were the result of a flexible, multidimensional coalition-building process that proceeded by offering amendments carefully constructed to split off pivotal members of the winning coalition. Ideal point estimates of U.S. Senators reveal that this coalitional negotiation process led to outcomes at some distance from the first choice of the winning coalition, testimony to significant compromise, both in early proposals and in refinements. This negotiation process resulted in outcomes apparently constrained by the boundaries of the uncovered set (Miller 1980; McKelvey 1986). "Closing the deal" in the U.S. Senate meant finding an outcome that could withstand robust attacks on pivotal coalition members-and that meant finding an outcome in the uncovered set.
Jeong, Gyung-Ho, Gary Miller, Camilla Schofield, and Itai Sened. 2011. “Cracks in the Opposition: Immigration as a Wedge Issue for the Reagan Coalition.” American Journal of Political Science 55 (3): 511-525.
Abstract: The absence of a core means that a majority coalition can never choose a policy that will keep it safe from minority appeals to its pivotal members. In two dimensions, strategic minorities will always be able to offer pivotal voters attractive policy concessions. We argue that this instability of multidimensional politics explains why minorities raise wedge issues and how wedge issues result in partisan realignment in legislative politics. Applying agenda-constrained ideal point estimation techniques to immigration debates, we show that the Reagan coalition--pro-business and social conservatives--has been vulnerable on the wedge issue of immigration and that parties have switched their positions on immigration over the three decades. We use the uncovered set as the best-fit theoretical solution concept in this legislative environment, to capture the limits of majority rule coalitional possibilities and policy change in the two-dimensional absence of a core.

Substantive Focus:
Economic Policy SECONDARY
Defense and Security PRIMARY
Social Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory PRIMARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation SECONDARY