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Polygence Scholar2022
Arjun Moogimane's profile

Arjun Moogimane

high_schoolClass of 2024Los Altos, California


Hello! My name is Arjun, and my project is about elite political polarization in American politics. I choose this topic because of the relevance of polarization to our society.


  • "What have been the main drivers of elite polarization in American politics since the 1970s and what does that indicate about our current situation?" with mentor Jennifer (Feb. 14, 2023)

Arjun's Symposium Presentation

Project Portfolio

What have been the main drivers of elite polarization in American politics since the 1970s and what does that indicate about our current situation?

Started July 25, 2022

Abstract or project description

Core Hypothesis: There would be low legislative productivity and high inflation in periods of high polarization and vice versa for low polarization.

Data: The first data area will be the distance between the average DW-Nominate scores of each party as a measure of elite polarization. One data area will be “economic data'' that is relevant to the analysis. This will include inflation percentage, unemployment rate and GDP. Another data area will be Congressional Bill cosponsorship. The data will be compiled to outline how often there was a bipartisan group co-sponsoring a certain bill. The final data area will be legislative effectiveness from the Center for Effective Lawmaking. In this data set, each lawmaker since 1973 (till 2020) is assigned a score that denotes their effectiveness in congress based on a number of factors.

Analysis Plan: Each of the four data areas has its own analysis plan outlined below - The DW-Nominate distance will be calculated by taking the average score of both Senators and Representatives of each party for each congress and calculating the distance between those two values with the larger distances indicating more polarization. This will be used as the general measure of polarization during the time periods against which all the other data will be compared. For economic data, I will essentially analyze for the 3 aspects if there is any general correlation between periods of high/low polarization and certain trends in the economic data For co-sponsorship I will see if it corresponds with other data in terms of indicating periods of high/low polarization. That is to say I will analyze if it is true that during times of polarization there is less bipartisan cosponsorship. As for the last legislative productivity data areas - I will analyze if during periods of polarization there is less legislative productivity. A possible area of issue here is that the data is normalized meaning it will be tough to compare across different congressional terms.

Having done this analysis for these data areas, I will have hopefully come to a conclusion of correlation - given data from these areas, what does that indicate about the state of polarization at any given time period. I will then use this finding to draw conclusions about our situation today.