EAST LANSING, Mich. – While political polarization in the United States is the worst it has been in years, new research from Michigan State University and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research suggests that having a partisan – and sometimes divisive – Congress might be more productive than if bipartisan groups were the norm.
The research, published in Scientific Reports, used new mathematical programming models to uncover how U.S. Senators and Representatives work together in groups, or coalitions. Looking at these coalitions allows a deeper understanding of Congress than analyzing congresspeople solely based on their parties.
“We usually think of the Congress as organized around political parties, but we found that it makes more sense to think about coalitions,” said Zachary Neal, associate professor of psychology and co-author of the study. “Coalitions are often partisan, with their members all coming from the same political party. But, coalitions can be…



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