The Validity of the Enns and Koch, and Berry et al. Measures of State Policy Mood: Continuing the Debate
Dr. Richard Fording (University of Alabama), William Berry, Russell Hanson, and Justin Crofoot
Journal Article in State Politics and Policy Quarterly October 18, 2021
Enns and Koch question the validity of the Berry, Ringquist, Fording, and Hanson measure of state policy mood and defend the validity of the Enns and Koch measure on two grounds. First, they claim policy mood has become more conservative in the South over time; we present empirical evidence to the contrary: policy mood became more liberal in the South between 1980 and 2010. Second, Enns and Koch argue that an indicator’s lack of face validity in cross-sectional comparisons is irrelevant when judging the measure’s suitability in the most common form of pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis. We show their argument is logically flawed, except under highly improbable circumstances. We also demonstrate, by replicating several published studies, that statistical results about the effect of state policy mood can vary dramatically depending on which of the two mood measures is used, making clear that a researcher’s measurement choice can be highly consequential.