University of California, Economics Department, Santa Cruz, CA
We study whether political parties exert precise control over the outcomes of legislative elections. We test for discontinuities in two outcomes that, in the absence of precise control, should be smooth at the threshold that determines control of the legislature: the identity of the party that previously held a majority, and the probability density of the election outcome. We apply these tests to high-stakes state elections that determine which party controls Congressional redistricting. We find overwhelming evidence of precise control, suggesting the majority party can - through legal means - ensure it retains just enough seats to stay in power.