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Volume XXI, Number 1
February 1996

Czar Rule in the Russian Congress of People's Deputies?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:5-40

We construct a formal model, based upon the rules and structure of the Russian Congress of People's Deputies, to characterize equilibrium strategies pursued by an agenda-setting Speaker. In conjunction with information about the distribution of preferences in the RCPD, our Czar Rule model yields several testable hypotheses. The model receives some empirical backing, but overall the results of our analyses do not support it. We therefore attribute the conflict between the Yeltsin government and the RCPD to fundamental disagreements over policy and not to internal contradictions in constitutional design.


Explaining Variation in Casework Among State Legislators
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:41-56

What variables affect the provision of casework in state legislatures? Using survey data of legislators collected in four states, we examine what influences legislators' commitment of time to the provision of constituency service. We find that several variables affect the amount of time legislators devote to casework: state-level factors, the number of demands made on the legislator, and the legislator's belief about what is important. We also examine the relationship between the legislator's time commitment and different types of service activities.


The Old Statehouse, It Ain't What It Used to Be
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:57-72

This paper reports data from a survey sent to all state legislators who have served for more than 15 years. The purpose of the questionnaire was to ascertain the nature and extent of changes in the legislature during the members' tenure. Veteran legislators perceived significant changes in influence structures within the legislature, in the nature of their job, and in the general environment in which they legislate. Variations in some of their perceptions are associated with differences between types of legislatures.


House Committee Assignments of Women and Minority Newcomers, 1965-1994
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:73-81

This paper examines the effects of gender and race on the prestige of House newcomer committee assignments since 1965. Due to the advancement of women and minorities in other areas of social life as well as the changing internal character of Congress, there should be increasing equity in the prestige of their congressional committee assignments. Findings generally confirm the author's expectations, although periodic surges and declines in the data, particularly for women, point up the impact of short-run political conditions. More generally, the data highlight linkages between Congress and the larger social system; continued equity depends on the nature of these linkages.


Bicameralism and the Core: An Experimental Test
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:83-103

While the primary problem confronting democratic theorists in the past several decades has been majority rule instability, recent formal results suggest that this problem is diminished by long-standing constitutional provisions such as bicameralism. Bicameralism should theoretically be much more likely to create a set of stable and undominated outcomes--a core. This paper reports a series of experiments testing whether individuals partitioned into two chambers do in fact behave as the formal theory of bicameralism predicts. In two sets of trials, the outcome chosen under a given bicameral partition is almost always in the bicameral core for that partition, and a change in the bicameral partition has a statistically significant impact on the choice of outcome.


Constituents and Legislators: Learning About the Persian Gulf War Resolution
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:105-27

This study examines how much citizens know about a highly salient roll-call vote: the Gulf War Use of Force Resolution. Citizens' awareness of how their representatives voted, while not great, was not trivial. Drawing on survey response theory, the authors determine that how well citizens are able to recall or guess their representatives' positions is structured by individual characteristics and a reasonable set of contextual cues. In their conclusion, the authors draw implications for the impact of public opinion on foreign policy, the ability of citizens to monitor their representatives in noncampaign periods, and for theories of the representation process.


Reconsidering the 'Myths and Realities' of Campaign Finance Reform
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:129-49

Our analysis uses simulations to consider the likely impact of campaign finance reform on electoral outcomes and electoral competitiveness. The analysis improves upon previous research by both utilizing more than a single econometric model as a basis for the simulations and utilizing a wide range of campaign finance scenarios. Conclusions as to the likely impact campaign finance reform has on electoral competitiveness rely on the model employed and the type of campaign finance reform considered.

Volume XXI, Number 2
May 1996

State Legislative Development: Observations from Three Perspectives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:165-98

Political scientists have viewed modern state legislatures from three perspectives: legislative reform in the 1960s and 1970s, legislative professionalization in the 1980s, and most recently legislative institutionalization. Institutionalization is best indicated by the boundedness of the legislature from the environment, as specified by personnel differentiation, normative structure, and managerial autonomy. When various indicators are taken into account, legislatures appear to be moving in the direction of deinstitutionalization.

Legislative Life in the 1990s: A Comparison of Black and White State Legislators
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:199-218

Although the number of black state legislators has increased dramatically in the last several decades, there is relatively little known about these important officeholders and how they compare to their white colleagues. Through a nationwide survey conducted in 1991-92, we gain some information on these legislators. The results depict some similarities among black and white legislators in terms of background characteristics and public policy concerns. The more obvious trends in the survey findings, however, are the many significant racial differences between these lawmakers, especially their perceptions of black legislative life and racial progress. While region, racial composition of district, party status, and gender serve to condition these racial disparities, significant differences in black-white legislative views remain.

Committee Assignments in the U.S. Senate
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:219-33

Because fundamental control over the legislative process occurs not on the floor but in standing committees, and because assignment to important standing committees increases members' power to control the legislative agenda, congressional committee assignments are important in determining the political and electoral success of incumbents. Changing membership patterns of committees over time provide some clues on the importance of seats on the committees. Using data on committee membership for the U.S. Senate for congresses from World War II to the 103d Congress, we measure the relative value of seats on Senate committees. We assume that senators who transfer from one committee to another are increasing their political and electoral capital. Two different measures developed by Bullock and Sprague and Munger are employed to create an ordering of Senate committee membership prestige. Committee assignment allocation processes in the House of Representatives and the Senate produce similar, expected rankings of legislator preferences among seats on standing committees.

A Further Examination of Challenger Quality in Senate Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:235-48

In this note we use survey data from the 1988 and 1990 NES Senate Elections Studies to examine the concept of challenger quality in greater depth than previous studies have done. We look at our measures of challenger quality from a number of angles to confirm their utility. We also use the pooled data to show that they produce the expected relationships with campaign-related variables, and that they perform better than other measures of challenger quality.

The Effects of Filing Fees and Petition Requirements on U.S. House Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:249-64

Recent theoretical work suggests that barriers to entry in political campaigns can affect who runs for office and how much effort they devote to that enterprise. We investigate the effects of legal barriers to competition—in the form of filing fees and petition requirements—on congressional election results during the 1980s. Higher ballot access requirements significantly increase the frequency of uncontested seats and decrease the frequency of retirements. Contrary to Supreme Court opinions, petitions pose as great a burden on potential challengers as filing fees do.

The Distributive Politics of Cold War Defense Spending: Some State Level Evidence
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:265-81

This study evaluates the distributive politics theory. We analyze a pooled cross-section time series of data on the distribution of prime military contracts among the states during the period 1965-83. Unlike earlier studies, this one finds a significant relationship between representation on House and Senate defense committees and the distribution of military contracts.

Volume XXI, Number 3
August 1996

Revisiting the State of U.S. State Legislative Research
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:301-35

Fifteen years ago, in this journal, Malcolm Jewell surveyed the field of state legislative research. In so doing, he identified some topics about which we, as a scholarly community, did not have adequate information. He also suggested some lines of inquiry for further research. In effect, in that 1981 article, Malcolm Jewell helped define the research agenda for a generation of state legislative scholars by discussing the state of our knowledge in seven specific areas. In this article we update the state of our knowledge in those seven areas by surveying more than 160 studies published in the years subsequent to Jewell's "The State of U.S. State Legislative Research."

Legislative Elections and the Importance of Money
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:337-57

In this paper we take the analysis of the role of money in legislative elections one step beyond the extant literature by examining the factors that affect the impact of spending on the vote. We hypothesize that two sets of factors, contextual and conversion, condition money's effect on the vote. The analysis of data from 12 state house races finds some significant support for the notion that spending responds to the context and the characteristics of the race, findings which have important theoretical and practical implications.

Legislative Party Voting for the Governor's Program
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:359-81

This research investigates the linkage between the governor's electoral party coalition and the governor's coalition within the legislature. Legislators in 10 states in 1983 are examined for their voting loyalty on the governor's program bills. In the five state with strong parties, where the parties "endorse" for governor, party line voting for or against the governor is quite high; whereas, in the states with nonendorsing parties, there is less gubernatorial party support and less partisan voting. Party line voting is enhanced also by unified rather than divided party control of government, and the governor receives greater legislative support following a strong electoral showing in the districts of legislators.

Political Parties as Vehicles for Organizing U.S. State Legislative Committees
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:383-408

In this paper we assess the role of political parties in organizing state legislative committees. This research is guided by an explanation found in Malcolm E. Jewell's early work on responsible political parties in U.S. state legislatures and in his more recent assessment of the conditions associated with state legislative control by strong political parties. We evaluate majority party representation (MPR) on the membership of all standing committees in 10 state legislative chambers for the last two sessions in each decade of the 20th century. Findings from two of our earlier studies of majority party representation on committees are also included.

Spinning Straw Into Gold: Soft Money and U.S. House Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:409-24

Our understanding of congressional campaign finance and party behavior is incomplete because scholars have not yet examined the millions spent in soft money by the national parties. This analysis of soft-money spending shows that federalism and campaign finance regulations provide both opportunities and constraints that influence the parties' ability to turn soft-money "straw" into hard-money "gold." A party's level of hard-money wealth significantly shapes how it spends soft money and helps explain why the parties pursue different strategies. The analysis suggests that the parties play a larger role in congressional campaign finance than has been previously reported, since parties spend soft money in ways that can benefit House candidates.

The Mobilization of Congressional Electorates
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:425-45

This study examines voter turnout in congressional districts during the 1988 and 1990 elections. Drawing heavily from studies of congressional campaign finance and vote outcomes, the analyses demonstrate the importance of campaign context. In addition to the fundamental influence of sociodemographic factors (e.g., district education level and population density) on turnout, vigorous campaigns waged by strategic elites increase political excitement and the flow of information, which in turn spur aggregate participation. In races where the House incumbent faces opposition, incumbent efforts (measured as campaign expenditures) have a significant and positive influence on turnout. The strategic position of the challenger has both direct and indirect effects on voter turnout, with a strong challenge translating into heavier turnout. In a nonpresidential year, high-profile senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns also get out district voters. However, a presidential contest provides a largely overriding stimulus that diminishes the influence of these state-level races on voter turnout.

Volume XXI, Number 4
November 1996

Constituency Preferences: California Ballot Propositions, 1974-90
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:463-88

What effect do their constituencies' voting preferences have on legislators' roll-call voting patterns? Through a study of citizens' votes on statewide ballot propositions and legislators' votes on roll calls in California, I find that when aggregated into legislative districts, the revealed preferences of California voters can be described by a spatial model with just three dimensions; that the constituency preference dimensions defined by this spatial model do an excellent job of predicting the overall roll-call voting patterns in the California legislature; and that there is evidence of a strong dimension-by-dimension correspondence between constituency preferences and legislative roll-call patterns. These findings suggest that the high degree of constraint found in roll-call voting in many U.S. legislatures may be due to legislator-constituency linkages.

Is There Life After Congress? Patterns and Determinants of Post-Congressional Careers
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:489-99

Little is known about the political activities of former members of Congress. Political pundits, journalists, and theories concerning subgovernment politics suggest former members have lucrative jobs with either bureaucracies or interest groups, but there is little confirmation of this. In this note we examine the post-congressional occupations of House members who retired between 1971 and 1992 and find that former members of Congress pursue a wide variety of careers. While many work for the government or interest groups, former members are more likely to leave career politics. Additionally, much of the variation in members' post-congressional careers can be explained by their interests and opportunities. Members who express interest in remaining politically active or see career opportunities in politics outside of Congress are likely to find jobs with the government or with interest groups. Conversely, members who are ill or have reached retirement age are likely to leave politics.

Assessing Legislative Deliberation: A Preface to Empirical Analysis
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:501-19

Recent scholarship has stressed the importance of deliberation in legislative decision making. Yet the empirical basis for claims about deliberation is weak, and the concept of deliberation itself needs to be sharpened. In this article I attempt to lay the groundwork for a systematic analysis of deliberation in real-world legislatures. I provide a framework for studying deliberation, consider the largely ignored issue of deliberation quality, and offer a set of indicators for determining the extent and quality of deliberation. Additionally, I provide testable hypotheses about factors that promote deliberation. Perhaps most importantly, I provide recommendations for analyzing the consequences of deliberation.

Estimating the Partisan Consequences of Redistricting Plans—Simply
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:521-41

Although some judges and political scientists have recently questioned the idea that it is possible to predict the partisan consequences of redistricting plans, I demonstrate that it is simple to do so with a pair of OLS equations that regress voting percentages on major party registration percentages. I test this model on data for all California Assembly and congressional elections from 1970 through 1994, and compare it to more complicated equations that contain incumbency and socioeconomic variables. The simplest equations correctly predict nearly 90% of the results. I show that analogous equations using registration or votes for minor or even major offices in California, North Carolina, and Texas can also predict outcomes with considerable accuracy. Using these equations, I show that the so-called "Burton Gerrymander" of 1980 had minimal partisan consequences, while the nonpartisan plan instituted by the California Supreme Court's Special Masters in 1992 was nearly as biased in favor of the Republicans as the proposal of the Republican party. I also introduce a new graphic representation of redistricting plans and conclude with a discussion of some seemingly methodological choices that have important substantive implications for assessing the fairness of redistricting plans.

Recent Research on Legislative Staffs
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXI:543-76

In this article, I survey the literature on legislative staffing from 1983 to the present. Recent studies of the staffs of the U.S. Congress, U.S. state legislatures, and legislatures outside of the United States present new data and analyses. Research includes increasingly precise and sophisticated analyses of staff influence and power, and offers perspectives on specialized staff groups, legislative enterprises, and staff members as candidates for elective office. Interesting and significant questions remain for further research.

Volume XXII, Number 1
February 1997

Senate Apportionment: Competitiveness and Partisan Advantage
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:3-24

This paper examines two unanticipated consequences of the equal representation of states on Senate elections-competitiveness and partisan advantage. Using a fixed-effects (LSDV) model that controls for important intervening variables to test the hypothesis that variation in state population size affects the competitiveness of Senate elections, we find a far stronger relationship between state population and electoral competitiveness than have previous works. In addition, Senate apportionment has had implications for the partisan composition of the Senate. When we compare the actual outcomes of Senate elections over time with hypothetical outcomes, which we derive by holding state population constant, we find that Senate apportionment has had important consequences for the partisan composition of the Senate in several periods. From the mid-1970s until (but not including) 1994, Senate apportionment enabled Republicans to hold seats disproportionate to their party's share of the national Senate vote.

Cosponsorship in the U.S. Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:25-43

Over half of all bills introduced in the U.S. Congress are cosponsored, and, while many observers assume that cosponsorship is crucial to the legislative process, few have analyzed what it means. We view cosponsorship as a signal about the content of legislation and ask whether it is a meaningful signal for members. Specifically we focus on whether cosponsorship influences a bill's passage. Three types of signals are considered: bandwagon, ideological, and expertise. Using data drawn from the 99th Congress, we analyze 8,002 House and Senate bills. Our findings show that cosponsorship is common. However, they also show that it is an overrated cue. At best it provides a signal concerning expertise at the outset of the legislative process, but generates a very weak signal thereafter. In short, cosponsorship has become a routine and rarely effective aspect of the legislative landscape.

Decomposing the Sources of Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. House
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:45-60

This paper develops a model of incumbency advantage that takes into account candidate quality, and then estimates the parameters of that model using panel data on the U.S. House from 1948 to 1990. Our approach allows us to go beyond the previous literature, which has focused primarily on measurement of incumbency advantage, to a decomposition of its sources. The primary explanation for the rising incumbency advantage appears to be the increasing ability of incumbents to deter high-quality challengers. In contrast, direct officeholder benefits (e.g., franking privileges, media exposure, fund-raising advantages, etc.) have been relatively stable over time and now account for less than half of the overall incumbency advantage.

The Influence of Political Consultants in the 1992 Congressional Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:61-77

Beginning with the common knowledge that political consultants heavily influence the outcome of election campaigns, and adding inferences drawn from the few available academic studies of consultants, we test the hypothesis that professionally run campaigns in the 1992 U.S. House races were characterized by higher vote percentages than those without such professionals. We examine only nonincumbent candidates and find clear support for this hypothesis, both according to level of campaign professionalization and according to specific types of political consultants.

Determinants of Candidate Emergence in U.S. House Elections: An Exploratory Study
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:79-96

The difficulty with studying the challenger side of the incumbency effect-the unwillingness of potentially strong challengers to run against U.S. House incumbents-has been in identifying strong potential candidates who, in fact, decide not to run. We rely upon a sample of politically astute informants to identify potential candidates prior to the 1994 elections. Our survey of these potential candidates reveals three common characteristics: they had many of the attributes one would expect of strong House challengers, there was variance in what they stated was the likelihood of their running for the House in 1994, and they were most strongly influenced by what they perceived to be their chances of winning their party's nomination in their district. In addition, they understood that they would be much less likely to receive their party's nomination if they shared party affiliation with the incumbent, a finding that reinforces the incumbency effect. We also find that respondents who held elective office at the time of the survey were more likely to run, and that there is little evidence that personal factors related to the costs and benefits of running weigh heavily in the decision to run.

The Co-Decision Procedure in the European Union
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:97-119

This paper presents a spatial model of the EU's co-decision procedure, introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht. The theory characterizes the set of policies that can be adopted and the equilibrium EU policy as a function of the ideal policies of the member countries, the Commission, and the Parliament, and the location of the status quo. The paper examines whether the Parliament has become a legislator of equal stature to the Council, and discusses the Commission's power and the extent of indecision under the co-decision procedure. A comparison with the EU's other principal legislative procedures yields comparative statements about EU policy and the institutions' powers.

Volume XXII, Number 2
May 1997

Constituency-Level Competition in the U.S. States, 1968-1988: A Pooled Analysis
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:141-59

This work examines constituency-level competition in U.S. state legislative races for the period 1968-88 using two measures of competition--proportion of seats marginal and proportion of seats contested. An incentive model is assessed to determine the impact of four variables--legislative institutionalization, incumbency, the likelihood of the minority party taking control of the chamber, and legislative performance--in a pooled time-series analysis. We find some support for the impact of the explanatory variables, particularly legislative institutionalization and incumbency. Finally, we present both descriptive and statistical evidence that the degree of constituency-level competition is decreasing during the time period under study.

Incumbency Advantage and the Persistence of Legislative Majorities
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:161-78

Between 1955 and 1995, although the GOP occasionally controlled the Senate and won landslide presidential election victories, the Democratic party controlled the majority of seats in the U.S. House. This paper argues that Republican, indeed, any minority party's problems stem from the interaction between career decisions and electoral prospects. We argue that there is a previously overlooked link between the incumbency advantage and the long-term persistence of legislative majorities. We develop a model that shows how the incumbency advantage can produce higher retirement rates among the minority party, which in turn decreases the likelihood that the minority party will win a majority of seats in the next election. Data on actual retirement rates of members of the U.S. House and of the U.K. Parliament fit the patterns predicted by our model.

Party Contributions and the Influence of Campaign Committee Chairs on Roll-Call Voting
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:179-94

Herrnson (1988) hypothesized that the increased activity of the four congressional campaign committees may increase the power of the campaign committee chairs on policy matters. In this paper I examine Herrnson's hypothesis. First, I analyze selected roll-call votes from the 98th and 99th Congresses to determine whether the committees' activities encourage members to be more supportive of positions advocated by the chairs of the House Democratic and Republican campaign committees. I then analyze the effect of these contributions on building party loyalty. I find that although the committees' activities have some influence on the amount of support freshman recipients give to the committee chairs, they have no effect on building support for the party.

Party Elites, Ideological Voters, and Divided Party Government
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:195-216

Do voters consciously split their tickets in order to "balance" the national government between the two major political parties, as some theories of divided government contend they do? Or do "sincere" and ideologically consistent voters split their ballots in response to elite behavior and party cleavages? Focusing on the 1988 election, the last time divided government was the direct result of split-ticket voting, we find that most split-ticket voters in national elections are ideologically conservative in their policy views. These conservative voters split their tickets in favor of the Republican presidential candidate and a Democratic House candidate they perceive to be similarly conservative. Meanwhile, the smaller proportion of voters who split for the Democratic presidential candidate and a Republican House candidate are ideologically liberal, and they respond to House Republicans perceived as similarly liberal. Finally, we discuss the implications of both our theory and our findings for the 1994 Republican midterm victories.

Comparing Constituency Activity by Junior Legislators in Great Britain and Ireland
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:217-32

To compare the relationship between constituency service and reelection concerns for British junior MPs and Irish junior deputies (TDs), we analyze interviews with 45 British MPs and 40 Irish TDs. Using a comparison of frequencies and Poisson regression analysis, we find support for the familiar expectations that TDs are substantially more active in their constituencies than are MPs, that they are more inclined than MPs to cite reelection as a motive for such activity, and that there is a stronger statistical relationship between reelection motivation and constituency activity for TDs than for MPs. We also find a positive relationship for both countries between distance from the capital and number of days per week spent in the constituency doing constituency work.

Policy Influence and Participation in the European Parliament
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:233-52

How does a legislature's influence over policy outputs affect its members' behavior? This paper examines this question, a question that has been neglected in the legislative literature. Using an unusual natural experiment in the European Parliament (EP), I investigate whether greater policy influence leads legislators to participate more in parliamentary votes. In addition to the impact of other variables--including the timing of votes, leadership cues, and the requirement that an absolute majority of members vote at certain stages--EP members are stimulated to participate more in votes on legislation where the EP's influence is greater. The implications of this result for legislative theory, and for our understanding of the EP, are discussed in the conclusion.

Political Career Paths and the European Parliament
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:253-63

This study examines how seats in the European Parliament fit into domestic political careers. It shows that the Parliament's four largest national delegations have developed a core of MEPs who have made long-term commitments to the European institution. There are significant national differences in these patterns, but as a whole they make it more likely that future European Parliaments will be filled with careerist MEPs who will view the Parliament as their principal political arena, and who will seek to increase the institution's prestige and power relative to other European and domestic institutions.

Trends in Research on U.S. State Legislatures: A Review Article
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:265-74

Books Reviewed:

Drawing the Line: Legislative Ethics in the States. Alan Rosenthal.
    (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1996).
How Women Legislate. Sue Thomas. (New York: Oxford University
    Press 1994).
Statehouse Democracy: Public Opinion and Policy in the American States.
Robert S. Erikson, Gerald C. Wright, and John P. McIver. (New York:
    Cambridge University Press 1993).
Time, Politics, and Policies: A Legislative Year. Burdett A. Loomis.
    (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas 1994).
The Speaker's Electoral Connection: Willie Brown and the California Assembly.
Richard A. Clucas. (Berkeley: University of California Institute of Governmental Studies Press 1995).
Narratives of Justice: Legislators' Beliefs about Distributive Fairness.
Grant Reeher. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press 1996).
The Art of Legislative Politics. Tom Loftus. (Washington, DC: CQ Press 1994).

Volume XXII, Number 3
August 1997

As a Matter of Factions: The Budgetary Implications of Shifting Factional Control in Japan's LDP
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:293-328
For 38 years, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) maintained single-party control over the Japanese government. This lack of partisan turnover in government has frustrated attempts to explain Japanese government policy changes using political variables. In this paper, we look for intraparty changes that may have led to changes in Japanese budgetary policy. Using a simple model of agenda setting, we hypothesize that changes in which intraparty factions control the LDP affect the party's decisions over spending priorities systematically. This runs contrary to the conventional wisdom expressed in the voluminous literature on LDP factions, which asserts that factions, whatever their raison d'être, do not exhibit different policy preferences. We find that strong correlations do exist between which factions comprise the agenda-setting party mainstream and how the government allocates spending across pork-barrel and public goods items.

Executive-Legislative Relations in an Era of Accelerated Reform: Reshaping Government in Israel
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:329-50
Israel's democracy is in the midst of a dramatic and comprehensive restructuring, a so-called "constitutional revolution." Because it lacks a written constitution, Israel turns to its parliament, the Knesset, as both the source and the target of most governmental reforms. As a result of these reforms, the 13th Knesset (1992-96) behaved very differently from its predecessors and changed the existing patterns of executive-legislative interaction. The reshaping of government in Israel presents an institutionally unique and developing political laboratory in which evolving executive-legislative relations can be analyzed while the composition and construction of the regime continues to unfold. This article has three primary aims. I first describe the reforms that were enacted toward the end of the 12th Knesset (1988-92) regarding the two branches of government. Then I analyze the evolving executive-legislative relations in the 13th Knesset. And third, I assess the significance of these changes for the stability and governability of Israeli democracy in general and the 14th Knesset in particular.

Pre-Leadership Signaling in the U.S. House
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:351-68
This research note builds on the work of scholars who have identified the importance of ideological and partisan criteria in the selection of congressional leaders. Viewing leadership selection as a problem of agency, we develop a framework for conceptualizing how ideology and partisanship affect leadership selection. Testing the framework on House leaders from 1875-1987, we find substantial variation between the two parties. While Republican leaders conform to the "core" hypothesis, Democratic leaders behave in accordance with the "polarizer" hypothesis. We conclude by suggesting that these interparty differences are the result of varying levels of intraparty heterogeneity.

Constituency Opinion, Ross Perot, and Roll-Call Behavior
in the U.S. House: The Case of NAFTA
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:369-92
This paper examines the extent to which electoral support for Ross Perot influenced House members' votes on the North American Free Trade Agreement. Using Perot's share of the congressional district vote and members' electoral safety as key predictor variables, we test a logit model, holding constant district demographic characteristics, members' party and ideology, region, and labor and business PAC contributions. The results of the analysis indicate that the magnitude of the Perot vote exerted a significant effect on the NAFTA vote outcome, specifically for marginal House Republicans. Thus, we provide evidence that under certain conditions members respond to Independent political movements and Independent voters in their districts when deciding on legislation.

Party Campaign Activity and Party Unity in the U.S. House of Representatives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:393-415
This study investigates the relationships between party campaign activity and party unity in the House of Representatives. Using data from the 1984 and 1992 elections and the 99th and 103d Congresses, we find little support for the hypothesis that previous party unity influences the distribution of party money or assistance in campaign management, fundraising, or communications. There is also little support for the hypothesis that party spending, campaign assistance, or recruitment efforts lead to greater party unity on normal roll-call votes. Nevertheless, Democratic candidates who receive substantial assistance in developing their campaign messages are more likely than others to vote with their party on key votes. Overall, the results show that U.S. political parties are more election than policy oriented.

Another Look at Legislative Professionalization and Divided Government in the States
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:417-32
Does the professionalization of state legislatures lead to more instances of divided government? Fiorina (1994) persuasively argues that it does. In this article I reexamine that relationship, looking at divided government in the states from 1960 to 1990, the years of the professionalization movement. I argue that few state legislatures are professionalized. But, while most of the other state legislatures have been professionalizing, they have few of the characteristics we would expect of legislatures where entrenched incumbents are equipped to fend off changing political tides the way we expect congressional incumbents to be able to do. I then test several variations on the hypothesis that the level of professionalization is linked to the incidence of divided government. Although some results lend support to the general hypothesis, overall the relationship is not very robust. I conclude by suggesting several reasons for the weak results, pointing in particular to the rise of candidate-centered gubernatorial campaigns and the adoption of professional-like behavior on the part of state legislators in every sort of institutional setting.

Volume XXII, Number 4
November 1997

Party Discipline in the Brazilian Constitutional Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:453-83
This paper focuses on 1988 roll-call votes in the 1987-88 Brazilian Constitutional Congress in an analysis of party discipline within the Congress. Because of the large number (1021) of roll-call votes during the Constitutional Congress and the availability of an excellent database, the Brazilian Constitutional Congress offers an opportunity for one of the most detailed studies ever conducted on party discipline in a third-world legislature. We begin by discussing how we calculated discipline scores, given some distinctive features of the Brazilian party system and the Constitutional Congress. We show that the biggest Brazilian parties of this period were comparatively undisciplined, and we also show that the leftist parties were a powerful exception to this general tendency. We demonstrate that legislators who switched parties during the Constitutional Congress were more likely than others to be undisciplined before switching, and that their discipline increased markedly after their move to new parties. Finally, we attempt to explain why discipline was low in all but the leftist parties.

Bicameralism and Budget Deficits: The Effect of Parliamentary Structure on Government Spending
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:485-516
In this study I look at the relationship between bicameralism and government budget deficits. The more actors there are who can kill legislation or influence its content, the more deals must be cut to pass a budget. Bicameralism sets up a bilateral veto game between legislative chambers, which leads to higher government budget deficits, all else constant. Since it is easier to cut deals to raise spending than to raise taxes, the need to cut deals across the chambers of a bicameral legislature generally leads to higher spending and, hence, higher deficits. I test this hypothesis on a sample of deficits from 17 countries, from 1965 to 1990.

The Role of Legislators in the Determination of Interest Group Influence
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:517-33

In addition to structuring the rules governing legislator-lobbyist interactions, legislators also affect their interactions with lobbyists by promoting lobbying enterprises, which are groups of like-minded lobbyists and their legislative allies, all of whom seek to coordinate their efforts. The long-term relationships inherent in lobbying enterprises reduce uncertainties, insure ready access to legislators, and allow lobbyists to reach undecided legislators indirectly. Lobbying enterprises complement staff systems, the committee system, and members' constituent contact committees. This article concludes with specific suggestions for incorporating concepts developed here into empirical and formal theoretic work on lobbying influence.

Information, Recall, and Accountability: The Electorate's Response to the Clarence Thomas Nomination
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:535-50
In order to further our understanding of the empirical value of the constituency control model of representation, we seek to determine whether differences in voter information and recall affect the capacity of elections to serve as instruments of accountability. We address this question by focusing on the degree to which voters held their senators accountable for their votes on the Clarence Thomas nomination in the 1992 senate elections. We find that policy-specific accountability requires voters to correctly recall their incumbent's roll-call behavior. Reliance on more general cues such as party identification and ideology leads some voters to mistakenly hold their representatives accountable for something they did not do. Since these cues are not so helpful on cross-cutting issues like the Thomas nomination, citizens who invest in detailed information will minimize errors in judgment made in the frequent instances when legislators' actions cross partisan and ideological lines. The high school civics texts may be right about the importance of an informed citizenry to democratic practice after all.

Voter Contact Techniques in State Legislative Campaigns: The Prevalence of Mass Media Advertising
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:551-71
What methods of voter contact are used by candidates running for state legislative office? A number of studies on the congressional level suggest that mass media advertising, particularly on television, is becoming the predominant form of voter contact. However, few studies have questioned whether these findings are generalizable to state legislative races. This analysis of itemized expenditure data for 583 primary and general election candidates in Texas and Kansas shows that state legislative campaigns differ dramatically from congressional campaigns in their methods of voter contact. In both primary and general election campaigns, state legislative candidates allocate a preponderance of their voter contact dollars to direct forms of contact, such as mailings and pamphlet distribution. However, some candidates do allocate resources to advertising in mass media. District-level features condition the choice more than do candidate type, level of expenditures, or electoral competition.

Party Targeting and Electoral Success
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXII:573-84
ORVIS, a measure of partisan strength calculated from the precinct-level vote share in previous statewide elections, has been used since 1988 to target Republican efforts in Georgia state legislative contests. The top-down approach implied in the use of this targeting device has paid dividends. Successful Republican challengers come disproportionately from districts with high ORVIS scores. The relationship between ORVIS scores and the share of the vote going to Republican candidates persists after factors such as campaign funding are controlled. The party's past success in statewide contests is a much better predictor of performance than is the showing in the previous legislative contest.

Volume XXIII, Number 1
February 1998

Divided Government and Budget Conflict in the U.S. States
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:5-22
Much of the recent literature on the topic of divided government has concentrated on explanations for its occurrence at the national and state levels. In this article I use agency data from twenty states to assess the effects of divided government on budgetary conflict between governors and legislatures. After controlling for state party system characteristics and gubernatorial power, I found that divided government indeed contributes to conflict, but only when the legislative chambers are united against the governor. If split partisan control of the legislature exists, the governor's position with respect to agency spending levels is supported.

Membership Turnover and the Efficient Processing of Legislation
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:23-32
Is membership turnover related to the ability of a legislature to efficiently process legislation? I examine this question using pooled data on state legislatures from 1989 to 1993. Membership turnover is not related to the number of bills enacted per legislative day, nor to the percentage of bills passed. Instead, legislative efficiency is related to the number of interest groups in a state, the number of bills legislators introduce, and a legislature's level of professionalization. Legislative rules also influence efficiency. The implications of these findings for the debate on term limits is discussed.

Thinking Globally or Acting Locally? Determinants of the GATT Vote in Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:33-55
While there exist many influences on legislators' votes, the U.S. system of plurality districts should ensure that constituent interests weigh most heavily. However, in marked contrast both to theories of legislative influence and to representatives' own explanations for their votes, quantitative analysis of congressional roll-call voting has largely failed to show a significant relationship between constituent interests and congressional behavior. We examine the 1994 House and Senate votes on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in light of this incongruence between empirical research, anecdotal evidence and theoretical argument. Unlike previous studies, we compile data at the level of congressional districts. Our analysis pays special attention to the construction of competing economic models of constituent interest and welfare. Finally, our research supports the argument that congressional committees are pivotal in the legislative decision-making process. We assess the impact of committees on the GATT bill in terms of partisanship, personal ideology and constituent interests of committee members. Better data, a more precise research design, and introduction of committees allows a better assessment of this paradox of congressional voting.

Military Construction Policy: A Test of Competing Explanations of Universalism in Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:57-78
Theories of universalism are based upon questionable assumptions that distributive benefits tend to be allocated universally, and that this pattern of allocation leads to near-unanimous floor support for many distributive benefit programs. I offer an alternative, general (or collective) benefit explanation to interpret patterns of allocation of distributive benefits and the size of floor coalitions supporting these programs. The case study of military construction policy is used to test the relative effect of general benefit and distributive benefit considerations on the size of floor support coalitions in the U.S. House of Representatives. The findings suggest important modifications of extant universalism theories.

Why Gain in the Senate But Midterm Loss in the House? Evidence from a Natural Experiment
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:79-89
In this note we use the Senate's six-year election cycle to explain why the "iron law of midterm loss" that applies so consistently to the House works with less certainty in the Senate; in fact, since 1946 there have been three instances (1962, 1970, and 1982) where the Senate has experienced no midterm loss. To explain the differing nature of midterm seat change in the Senate, we employ a natural experiment in which Senate midterm elections (1946-1994) are categorized in the following way: (1) The same party controlled the White House two and six years prior to the midterm; or (2) a different party held the presidency six years as compared to two years before the midterm. We hypothesize that, in the first situation, midterm loss forces are mutually reinforcing; thus, the Senate experiences large and unidirectional seat changes against the party that holds the White House. In the later situation, however, the electoral cycle effects (t-2 and t-6) run counter to one another and, therefore, seat change is not unidirectional, midterm loss is lessened, and there is even the potential for midterm gain. In fact, all of the midterm gains in the Senate in the 20th century occur in this situation.

Institutionalizing Chinese Legislatures: Trade-offs Between Autonomy and Capacity
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:91-108
Some leaders of Chinese local people's congresses emphasize autonomy in order to promote decentralization and enhance representation. Other legislative insiders favor sacrificing autonomy in order to strengthen capacity and improve oversight. Tight coupling between congresses appeals to local legislators because it offers opportunities to mobilize supporters, obtain resources, and expand jurisdiction, while representatives of higher congresses often oppose closer ties in order to preserve local initiative, safeguard elections, and reduce conflict with Party committees. In a reforming communist state, single legislatures may not be the right unit of analysis for assessing autonomy. Established boundaries, in the early stages of institutionalization, may apply to the legislative system as a whole rather than to its parts. And softening boundaries between congresses at different levels can harden boundaries against other bureaucracies.

Women's Representation in National Legislatures: Developed and Developing Countries
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:109-125
This note expands research on representation of women in national legislatures. Existing models are tested on newer data in advanced industrialized democracies, and these models are then applied to a sample of democracies in developing countries. There are striking differences across the two samples. While a proportional representation electoral system, women's participation in the labor force, the cultural standing of women, and the country's level of development all have positive effects on female representation in OECD democracies, none of these variables have a statistically significant and positive effect in less developed countries. These findings strongly suggest the existence of a threshold. Only after that threshold is passed do proportional representation, labor force participation, and cultural standing exert positive influences on the representation of women.

Institutions and Strategy in Parliamentary Democracy: A Review Article
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:127-143b
Books Reviewed:
John D. Huber, Rationalizing Parliament: Legislative Institutions and Party Politics in France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. xii +215 pp.

Michael Laver and Kenneth A. Shepsle, Making and Breaking Governments: Cabinets and Legislatures in Parliamentary Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. xi +301 pp.

Volume XXIII, Number 2
May 1998

The Impersonal Vote? Constituency Service and Incumbency Advantage in British Elections, 1950-92
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:167-95
British elections are traditionally understood to be dominated by parties and leaders. Local candidates are taken to be mere ciphers, whose impact on the outcome is negligible. Recently, however, several works have documented a change in MP behavior. Today's members do more constituency service than did their predecessors, in the belief that this will create a personal vote. If the MPs are succeeding, incumbency advantage should now be evident, as it is in American elections. In fact, incumbency advantage does not seem to have changed over the postwar period: for the major parties, it remains small and sporadic.

Maintaining Congressional Committees: Sources of Member Support
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:197-218
Within the U.S. House of Representatives, standing committee recommendations are usually accepted by the full chamber. Although considerable attention has been paid to the extent that committee recommendations are ratified by the full chamber, relatively little research has addressed the sources of committee success. Committees usually win on the floor, but it is unclear why members of Congress support committee recommendations, or how we should account for variation in such support. One explanation for committee success is that members derive power from the committee system, and thus are reluctant to challenge committee recommendations. A second explanation is that committees themselves are partisan institutions, and thus members support committee recommendations out of partisan loyalty. A third explanation is that members support committees because committees recommend policies that are consistent with members' policy preferences. Unlike previous studies that have relied primarily on single-vote case studies, I use roll-call data from the 98th through the 100th Congresses (1983-88) to construct an aggregate measure of committee support and to test these three competing explanations of the sources of committee support. I conclude that with few exceptions, policy and partisan motivations have a stronger influence on member support for committee recommendations than do incentives stemming from members' institutional positions.

Congressional Party Leadership: Utilitarian versus Majoritarian Incentives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:219-43
By making procedural decisions about how individual bills are referred, scheduled, subjected to amendments, and sent to conference, majority party leaders exert important influence on legislative outcomes. In this paper, I use a sequence of formal models to analyze regularities in the preferences of party leaders, regularities that determine how procedural decisions are made. I find that the goal of maintaining party strength causes leaders to make procedural decisions based on the preference intensity of the rank and file. Leaders will make procedural decisions in ways that benefit intense minorities within the party whenever the party minority's stake in the bill is greater than that of the less-intense party majority. The desire to keep a leadership position, however, creates an incentive to please a party majority. I show, however, that this majoritarian incentive will generally have only limited influence on procedural decisions. Its impact is limited in particular by shifting coalitions within the majority party and by backbenchers' preferences for party maintenance.

Boll Weevils and Roll-Call Voting: A Study in Time and Space
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:245-69
Using a pooled time-series analysis of southern congressional districts from 1983 to 1992, we evaluate theories associating constituency and institutional factors with recent shifts in the voting patterns of southern Democrats. While we find that Democrats serving areas with larger minority populations and more progressive white populations tend to be more liberal, the greatest portion of the aggregate liberalization of voting patterns is attributable to cohort change. Voting records of southern Democrats elected prior to 1982 remained relatively constant, and we find no evidence of any general trend in the recent voting patterns of southern Democrats when controlling for other factors.

The Effects of Term Limits on State Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:271-300
Legislative theory suggests that anticipatory effects of term limits would first affect the types of individuals elected to office and only later influence the legislature itself. Our results, based on a 1995 survey of nearly 3000 state legislators nationwide, indicate otherwise. There are no systematic differences between term limit and non-term limit states in the composition of the legislature (e.g., professional backgrounds). Yet with respect to legislative behavior, term limits decrease the time legislators devote to securing pork, and heighten the priority they place on the needs of the state and on the demands of conscience relative to district interests. At the same time, with respect to the legislature as an institution, term limits appear to be redistributing power away from majority party leaders and toward governors and possibly legislative staffers.

Volume XXIII, Number 3
August 1998

Policy Distance and Parliamentary Government
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:319-45
The policy-distance assumption stipulates that a party's incentive to join a parliamentary coalition government decreases with the distance between its policies and those of the government. Based on this assumption, recent formal work has posited a connection between the size and relative ideological centrality of the formateur party and the formation of smaller, especially minority, governments. Under these models, policy distance affects government composition in two ways: by influencing how large the government will be, and by influencing which parties will participate in it. This paper tests for these effects at both the government and party levels, using data sets covering West European parliamentary democracies in the 1945-89 era and incorporating two different measures of ideological positions. The findings support both effects, and in addition, show that the emergence of external support parties is influenced by considerations of policy distance. Although the formal models are not wholly sustained, the evidence strongly indicates that policy distance is critical to parliamentary government.

Let the Chits Fall Where They May? Executive and Constituency Influences on Congressional Voting on NAFTA
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:347-71
The approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the House of Representatives in November, 1993 depended heavily on lobbying by President Clinton. I show that this lobbying power does not inhere in the presidency, but was strategic. Clinton concentrated his lobbying on members who were either undecided or leaning against NAFTA in September, as well as members who received large contributions from business and from districts where the president did well. I use estimates of lobbying efforts derived from probit analysis to predict the NAFTA vote. This endogenous measure of contacting had the third greatest effect for Democratic House members voting on NAFTA (behind only presidential support) and labor political action committee contributions. But for Republicans, contact seemed to have a perverse negative effect.

Domestic Agenda Setting, 1947–1994
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:373-97
This article examines domestic agenda setting in Washington between 1947 and 1994. It finds that House and Senate majority leaders have, over time, set increasingly more of this agenda. I examine the role of presidents and congressional committee chairs in domestic agenda setting, and evaluate the success of presidential and congressional proposals within the legislative process. Recent changes in agenda-setting patterns seem to be the product of a number of factors, including more frequent and polarized divided government, as well as changes in the formal rules of Congress and the ideological composition of the legislative parties.

Clarence Thomas and the Politicization of Candidate Gender in the 1992 Senate Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:399-418

The Clarence Thomas confirmation battle was a highly politicized, controversial, and symbolic event that clearly affected the 1992 Senate elections. Various hypotheses attempting to explain the controversy's impact on election results have focused on mass voting behavior based on group self-interest, negative voting against incumbent Senators, or on the symbolic impact of the confirmation vote. I focus instead on the actions of strategic political elites, hypothesizing that female elite behavior successfully politicized candidate, rather than voter, gender into an electoral asset in the 1992 Senate elections. As usual, strategic elites translated national political tides into local outcomes, but in the process, female candidate exploitation of the Thomas controversy led to several interesting and unusual implications.

Moving Up or Moving Out: Career Ceilings and Congressional Retirement
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:419-33
This research note presents a theory of congressional retirement and tests it with data from the 102d Congress. The results bridge the gap between the 1970's macro retirement studies and the more recent micro-centered approaches by highlighting the importance of career ceilings. Defined as the interaction between formal position and years of service, the career ceilings variable can be interpreted as the degree to which the member's career in the House has stagnated. This variable dominates the traditional causes of retirement in the quantitative analysis. In light of the convergence of the unique 1992 retirement causing factors, its power is especially surprising. Not only was 1992 the first election after redistricting and the House bank scandal, but it was also the last chance for members to convert excess campaign cash to personal income. Nevertheless, career ceilings predict retirement much better than any of the 1992-specific variables.

Are Women More Likely to Vote for Women's Issue Bills Than Their Male Colleagues?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:435-48

Many hypothesize that the election of more women to the U.S. Congress is more than simply an issue of equity, but will make a substantive policy difference. I test this hypothesis by analyzing the voting records of all representatives in the 103d Congress on a set of women's issues. It is my premise that women will not necessarily exhibit a more liberal ideology than their male counterparts on all issues; however, the more directly an issue affects women, the more likely it is that women will vote together across party lines. The results of regression analysis on the composite score of women's issue votes indicate that gender exerts a significant and independent effect on voting for women's issues in the face of controls for other major influences on congressional voting. These influences include constituency factors, party, personal characteristics, and ideology. Interaction terms for gender by party indicate that much of the impact of gender is due to the influence of Republican women. Logit analysis of the individual votes demonstrates that the gender of the representative was most significant on votes that dealt with abortion and women's health. The influence of gender was overwhelmed by other factors such as party, ideology, and constituency concerns on votes that were less directly related to women, such as education.

Volume XXIII, Number 4
November 1998

When Will Pork Leave the Farm? Institutional Bias in Japan and the United States
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:467-92
All industrialized countries have seen their populations "urbanize" over time. In democracies, this demographic trend ought to have ramifications for politics and policy. In this paper, I examine the effects of urbanization on agricultural subsidy programs in Japan and the United States. I show that even after malapportionment was dealt with, rural retrenchment was delayed by the balance of power within the majority party in each country. In Japan, once urban members constituted a majority within the ruling party in the House of Representatives, government policy changed quickly and dramatically. In the U.S., powerful House committees and permanent rural over-representation in the U.S. Senate delayed policy change much longer than was true in Japan, which has no similar institutional impediments.

Property Rights and the Emergence of Standing Committee Dominance in the Nineteenth-Century House
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:493-519
Between 1810 and 1825, the bill-referral process in the House of Representatives changed dramatically, from a system that channeled a majority of legislation through select committees to a system that was dominated almost exclusively by standing committees. At the heart of this change, I contend, were grants of new rights to both standing committees and individual committee members. To explain this dispensation of new rights, I follow a new institutionalist approach and use a political theory of property-right origination, developed by Riker and Sened (1991), as a theoretical guide. I find that all necessary and sufficient conditions for right emergence, in the form of new bill-referral powers and seat-assignment privileges, are met by the actual macro-level and micro-level events of the early nineteenth century. Specifically, the greater heterogeneity of the Jeffersonian coalition and the self-interested machinations of the House Speaker, Henry Clay, combined to produce an institutional change that served the needs of all major parties in the House.

Issue Salience and Support for Civil Rights Legislation among Southern Democrats
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:521-44
Does the size of their black constituency influence support for civil rights legislation among southern Democrats? Previous research on the subject has produced mixed results. I argue that part of the reason for this is that the voting indices typically used to measure constituency influence are invariably made up of both salient and more obscure roll calls. To illustrate this point I examine scores from the 1990 Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), along with two roll calls of similar impact yet markedly different levels of salience—the final vote on the 1990 Civil Rights Act and a less publicized amendment. I show that the size of the black constituency, as well as other district-level factors, was an important determinant of how southern Democratic House members voted on the 1990 Civil Rights Act, but not on the more obscure amendment or the overall LCCR scores.

Senators’ Home-State Reputations: Why Do Constituents Love a Bill Cohen
So Much More Than an Al D’Amato?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:545-60
Prior analyses of the bases of legislators’ popular support have provided a mixed set of findings. In this note, we lay out a series of hypotheses about the determinants of legislators’ home-state reputations, and test these expectations using a 1996 survey in which 40 thousand constituents in all 50 states rated their senators’ job performance. We find that ideological congruence, state demographics, and electoral factors best explain variation in senators’ reputations. Parochial attention, partisanship, and legislative activism do little to boost senators’ approval ratings.

The Impact of Constituency Diversity upon the Competitiveness of U.S. House Elections, 1962–96
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:561-73
There are many good reasons to expect that the diversity of a constituency should impact electoral competitiveness. However, in the face of these strong expectations, the empirical record that has sought to quantify this relationship is at best mixed. The work by Bond (1983) is an excellent example. Using a measure of diversity (the Sullivan Index) common to other researchers, Bond’s investigation of House races in the 1970s revealed no relationship between district diversity and competitiveness. The principle finding of this study is that much of the confusion in the literature is caused by the measure of diversity used: the Sullivan Index measures the absolute, not political, diversity of a constituency. Thus, I develop and examine a measure of diversity that assumes constituency characteristics have differential partisan impact. Use of this measure clearly demonstrates that for House elections held between 1962 and 1996, diverse House districts experienced significantly more electoral competition than did relatively less diverse House districts.

Electoral Career Patterns and Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:575-83
John Alford and John Hibbing (1981) questioned the thesis of generational replacement that explains the improved incumbency advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives. They presented evidence that improved incumbent performance was uniform across all levels of tenure between 1966 and 1978. Alford and Hibbing found an almost monotonic increase in non-southern incumbent vote percentage across all levels of tenure, increasing as tenure increased. Our purpose in this study is to update and elaborate upon the Alford and Hibbing research by examining electoral margins of House incumbents from 1980 to 1996. Unlike Alford and Hibbing, we examine all House members’ (including southern members) vote percentages to detect whether these patterns maintain throughout the 1980s and 1990s. We update the data on incumbency advantage through the 1996 elections and compare changes in the South and the non-South. Members from both regions earn large victory margins early in their careers, but the victories of Southern members are markedly more decisive.

The Home Style Homepage: Legislator Use of the World Wide Web for Constituency Contact
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:585-95
The Internet not only provides a low cost and increasingly popular medium for legislators to interact with constituents, but also an opportunity for researchers to test established theories of "home style" using a much larger group of elected officials. Examining the Web sites of members of the House of Representatives during the Internet’s introduction into Congress (June through August of 1997), we address two questions: (1) What factors influence members to invest scarce resources in an official congressional homepage? (2) Of those who go "online," why do some members emphasize constituent casework while others do not? Our findings confirm that legislators use the World Wide Web much as they do other means of constituent contact. Republicans, younger legislators and representatives of more affluent populations are more likely to have homepages. Of those who have a homepage, Democrats and members from electorally marginal districts are more likely to use that Web site to solicit casework.

Volume XXIV, Number 1
February 1999

Divided Parties, Divided Government
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:5-29
The U.S. phenomenon of divided government has its counterpart in a parliamentary system as a result of the politics of coalition. One legislative coalition may put the executive in place, a different legislative coalition may sustain it in a vote of confidence, while yet another legislative coalition enacts measures that thwart its day-to-day business. I explain such division between executive and legislature by relaxing the party-as-unitary-actor assumption and recognise that executive and legislative elements of the same party may pursue different strategies. Party leaders may enter into commitments to coalition partners that involve implicit or explicit obligations to impose intraparty discipline. Leaders may do this with greater or lesser enthusiasm, and the required discipline may or may not be forthcoming. Thus, governments may be defeated in legislative votes because the legislature fails to honour obligations entered into by the executive. This paper sets out a simple model of this process, begins to analyse it, and elaborates a recent real-world example of the phenomenon.

Paradoxes of Parties in Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:31-64

This paper identifies four paradoxes of parties. These paradoxes illustrate not only substantive problems in their own right but also diverse ways that formal models can help to define and address problems in legislative research. Models are shown to clarify key concepts (such as majority party strength), to sharpen the definition of important problems of inference (observational equivalence of theories), to evaluate widely used measures (party voting), and to derive and test competing hypotheses (majoritarian versus majority-party determinants of legislative organization).

Uncovering the Dimensionality of Gender Voting in Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:65-86
A unidimensional liberal-conservative voting model is generally accepted as the pattern that structures Congressional voting. Empirical research on mass and elite gender consciousness, case studies on congressional handling of women’s issues, and feminist theory all imply, however, that more than one dimension should be used to explain voting for legislation that affects women. Using exploratory factor analysis, I provide evidence of a gender-related dimension in a set of voting indexes and a set of roll-call votes made by both male and female members of the 101st, 102d, and 103d Congresses.

The R2 = .93: Where Then Do They Differ?
Comparing Liberal and Conservative Interest Group Ratings
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:87-101
Interest group ratings have long been used by social scientists to distinguish between liberal and conservative members of Congress. It is also well known that ratings by different groups are highly correlated with one another. Here, rather than focusing on the similarities between such measures, we focus on the differences between them. Although the relationship between measures is nearly linear, we find systematic robust differences between Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and American Conservative Union (ACU) scores. Using a variety of techniques, we show that interest groups are most interested in distinguishing among their ideological friends and tend to group their ideological enemies near the bottom of the scale. Because of this, using any single interest group score to explain political phenomena (i.e., party loyalty) is likely to produce an inconsistent estimate of the impact of ideology on such phenomena. Finally, we propose and test a method that corrects for this bias.

What is So Special About Special Elections?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:103-112
Some political scientists have regarded special elections as referenda on the approval of presidents—and therefore as products of national forces—while explaining regularly scheduled elections as the product of not only national political forces, but also constituency and candidate attributes specific to particular districts. In this paper we examine whether outcomes in special elections and their nearest counterpart, open-seat elections, are driven by similar or different forces. We used district-level data on U.S. House special elections and open-seat elections from 1973 to 1997 to test a model that integrates constituency, candidate, and presidential approval variables. The results of this analysis indicate that special elections are a subset of open-seat elections, with both types of contests strongly impacted by candidate and constituency influences. We found no evidence of a substantial presidential-approval effect in special elections. The absence of such a relationship underscores the importance of candidates and constituent preferences in structuring elections and indicates the inappropriateness of drawing national implications from special House contests.

Solicited Advice and Lobbyist Power: Evidence from Three American States
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:113-124
The work of William P. Browne and Won K. Paik (1993) suggests that legislators act as "unrestrained entrepreneurs" in an unstructured legislative environment. As a result, legislators rely heavily upon lobbyists for information and advice. Using data from a survey of 595 lobbyists in three American states, this paper asks: What determines whether or not and how often a lobbyist is approached for advice by policymakers? My findings suggest that full-time, experienced lobbyists have the largest "advice advantage." However, female lobbyists, as well as those who work for governmental bodies, also appear to have an advice advantage. Ultimately, these findings provide insight into what makes some lobbyists more influential than others.

Volume XXIV, Number 2
May 1999

Legislative Careers: Why and How We Should Study Them
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:149-171
Legislative careers can provide extremely useful information on political institutions, but only if used wisely. For example, we cannot assume that the amount of membership turnover in a legislature is an indication of the degree to which it is institutionalized. The real variable of interest is the (unfortunately much more difficult to quantify) consequences of that turnover. And even if we can determine that the consequences of legislative turnover are minimal, we cannot conclude that the legislature is institutionalized since what appears to be legislative institutionalization may actually be the institutionalization of political parties. More accurate indications of institutionalization would be the tendency of members to want to stay in the body (regardless of whether or not they do), and the length of service in the body required before leadership positions become a real possibility.

Recruitment and Retention in U.S. Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:173-208
Questions of recruitment and retention of legislators are central to our understanding of the nature of representative democracy. This essay traces the dominant perspectives and issues involved in the study of legislative candidates and legislative careers in the United States. A central theme of this essay is that congressional and state legislative scholars have tended to ignore each other’s work. This is largely due to a difference in the unit of analysis, wherein congressional scholars concentrate on the individual while state legislative scholars concentrate on the institution. But two recent events in state legislatures have the potential to provide linkages between congressional and legislative research. The first is the increase in careerism among state legislators. The second is the effect of term limits.

Recruitment and Retention of Legislators in Brazil
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:209-37

This article discusses the recruitment and retention of legislators in Brazil since World War II and identifies the main theoretical challenges for developing comparative research on such an issue. It argues that a comparative analysis on this subject cannot make theoretical headway without an understanding of the reasons by which different countries display different modes of interaction between the legislative branch and the broader political system. The conclusion is that more historical research (and not just more comparative-static analysis and measures of institutionalization) is needed for the investigation concerning the cause of the emergence of different career patterns.

Recruitment and Retention in Western European Parliaments
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:239-279
This article reviews and evaluates recent research on parliamentary recruitment in Western Europe. It illuminates the particular difficulties of doing comparative legislative research in Europe and summarizes several important studies and their methodologies. Next, it presents a country-by-country overview of comparative and case studies on legislative recruitment. Included are the Mediterranean countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece), France, the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden), Belgium and the Netherlands, the German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), and the European Parliament. Additionally, studies on gender effects in legislative recruitment are reviewed. A final section evaluates several major substantive and methodological issues. These include the strengths and shortcomings of European recruitment research; the types of data collected and research questions answered; the common research methods and their limits; the theoretical frameworks applied; and the neglect of normative research.

Political Cleavage in U.S. State Legislative Houses
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:281–302
Does the income of state legislative districts affect the election of Republicans and Democrats? If such a relationship exists, is it uniform across states, or do states retain some uniqueness in their party cleavages? This paper assesses the relationship of district income to partisan outcomes across states, using district data from The Almanac of State Legislatures and a file of winners of legislative elections compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The results indicate that the association between district income and partisan outcomes varies significantly across the states. The varying partisan cleavages across the states are not just a product of state conditions such as the diversity within states. States have unique patterns of partisan cleavages that we need to explain and incorporate into analyses.

State Lobby Registration Data: The Anomalous Case of Florida (and Minnesota too!)
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:303-314
Florida’s lobbying community was anomalously large in 1990, a problem that threatens to undermine more general interpretations of the density of state interest systems. We use time series and cross-sectional data to better understand just what happened in Florida. Two explanations are examined, one focusing on changes in lobbying regulations, and the other based on a population ecology interpretation of Florida’s battle over the sales tax on services and what should replace it. The data provide circumstantial support for the latter account, which suggests that Florida is anomalous only in the extremity of the conditions governing the size of its interest community in the late 1980s, not the conditions themselves.

Volume XXIV, Number 3
August 1999

Electoral Systems and the Representation of Minority Interests in Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:331–85
The rules and institutions used to translate preferences into electoral outcomes have a profound impact on the nature of representation provided in a political system. This is especially true when it comes to representing divergent racial and ethnic group interests. This essay examines the range of alternatives that nations have used to address this fundamental problem, with a focus on the representation of minority interests within U.S. legislatures. After a brief review of related issues, I examine the following questions: how should representation be provided to minorities within a majority rule system (the normative literature); how can representation be provided (the legal literature); and, how are minority interests represented (the partisan implications of racial redistricting and the broader empirical literature on representation).The rules and institutions used to translate preferences into electoral outcomes have a profound impact on the nature of representation provided in a political system. This is especially true when it comes to representing divergent racial and ethnic group interests. This essay examines the range of alternatives that nations have used to address this fundamental problem, with a focus on the representation of minority interests within U.S. legislatures. After a brief review of related issues, I examine the following questions: how should representation be provided to minorities within a majority rule system (the normative literature); how can representation be provided (the legal literature); and, how are minority interests represented (the partisan implications of racial redistricting and the broader empirical literature on representation).

Electoral Rules and the Calculus of Mobilization
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:387–419
In this essay, I consider how electoral laws affect parties’ mobilizational incentives and, hence, turnout. The strategy is to look systematically at how differing electoral rules affect the translations from effort-to-votes, votes-to-seats, and seats-to-portfolios, and hence, parties’ incentives to mobilize. Considering each of these steps in turn leads us to many of the most important extant claims about how electoral institutions affect turnout. Such an approach also underscores that, even by a purely instrumental calculus, both social structure and political context are directly relevant to explaining mobilization (hence, turnout).

Transformational Leader or Faithful Agent? Principal-Agent Theory and House Majority Party Leadership
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:421-49
Newt Gingrich’s phenomenal successes in the 104th Congress led many political scientists to question the discipline’s prevalent conception of congressional leadership. Most see congressional leaders as agents who must satisfy members’ expectations to get reelected. Those expectations arise from members’ goals and from the political and institutional context in which they attempt to advance them. The change in the political context between the 104th and 105th Congresses provides something of a natural experiment. A comparison of party leadership in the 104th with leadership before the 104th as well as in the 105th allows us to assess the adequacy of principal-agent theory for making sense of a complicated, even exceptional, case. I assess continuity and change in the rate and type of House majority party leadership activity and in leadership strategies. Compared with the Democratic leaderships of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gingrich’s leadership in the 104th Congress shows considerable continuity but also some distinctive features. The considerable changes in Republican leadership from the 104th to the 105th can be explained by changes in context that altered members’ expectations.

Party Campaign Committees and the Distribution of Tally Program Funds
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:451–69
This paper uses data supplied by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to examine the relationship between candidate tallying and party allocations in the 1992 and 1994 elections and, in doing so, to provide a new test of hypotheses concerning the role and powers of the party-in-government in the post-war Congress. The focus is on two hypotheses: a recycling hypothesis (allocations were driven by candidate tallies), and an electioneering hypothesis (allocations were driven by the goal of winning elections). Analysis of the data provides no support for the recycling hypothesis. Rather, consistent with the electioneering hypotheses, DSCC allocations are strongly influenced by political variables, such as the closeness of a race, a candidate’s success at fundraising, state population, and the cost of campaigning. These findings confirm a strong redistributive role for the contemporary party-in-government in the electoral process.

Volume XXIV, Number 4
November 1999

The Roots of Careerism in the U.S. House of Representatives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:489–510
In this paper we reexamine the rise of careerism in the United States House of Representatives. Following the insights of Gilmour and Rothstein (1993) and Kiewiet and Zeng (1993), we model careerism as a combination of the desire of incumbents to serve in the House for long periods and the ability to be reelected. The focus in this paper is on the probability that incumbents seek reelection, and conditional on their decision to seek reelection, the probability they will be elected. The results of our analysis show that different factors influence electoral safety and the desire to continue holding office. Namely, institutional innovations such as the Australian ballot and primaries slightly decreased the probability of seeking reelection. In addition, bringing pork home and a strong partisan advantage in the district increased the probability of renomination. In regard to seat safety, incumbent party advantage, especially post-1896, increased the probability of winning reelection, as did economic prosperity.

All in a Day's Work: The Financial Rewards of Legislative Effectiveness
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:511–23
The investment theory of campaign finance posits that political action committees invest campaign funds in members who provide services at a low cost. We build on and directly test this theory, hypothesizing that PACs give to members who are effective legislators. Using data collected from the 103d and 104th Congresses and a direct measure of effectiveness, we find that contributions flow to members who are successful in getting a large percentage of their sponsored bills enacted into law. Being an effective legislator is one way a member can purchase time for his or her Washington work.

Artificial Extremism in Interest Group Ratings and the Preferences versus Party Debate
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:525-42
Congressional voting studies often use interest group ratings as proxies for legislator policy preferences. This paper investigates the extent to which artificial extremism in interest group ratings affects the ability of such studies to estimate accurately the impact of legislator preferences and party membership on roll-call votes. Using a sequence of Monte Carlo experiments, I find that artificial extremism does not have serious implications for understanding whether policy preferences impact legislator voting behavior. However, in many cases artificial extremism can cause analyses of roll-call votes to draw improper conclusions regarding the direction and magnitude of the impact of party membership on roll-call voting decisions.

Transitional Governance in the United States: Lessons from the First Federal Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:543–68
This paper details the transition from a confederated to a federal legislative system in the United States. Covering the period 1782 through 1792, I examine how political elites fundamentally reshaped their legislative institutions. This period in American history was extremely important. The newly created nation faced enormous problems reconstituting itself from a loose aggregation of independent and sovereign states into a unified nation. Almost every commentator from the period noted the fragile nature of newfound democratic rights and the importance of this national experiment. The concluding sections of the paper draw lessons from this period of American transition to contemporary legislatures in democratizing systems. While few of these lessons directly apply to current transitional systems, they shed light on the kinds of issues that scholars should raise while studying democratizing systems.

Legislative Autonomy in New Regimes: The Czech and Polish Cases
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:569–603
The recent wave of democratization worldwide has focused attention on the evolution of legislatures in new democracies. In regimes where potent executives—either presidential, parliamentary, or hybrid—exist alongside new legislatures, it is necessary to distinguish the idea of legislative autonomy from that of effectiveness. We emphasize the centrality of the second concept to understanding representative institutions in recent transitions. We provide case studies of the lower legislative chambers in Poland and the Czech Republic during the past decade, describing the evolution of the party and committee systems, the structure of legislative leadership, and its relationship to the executive. Finally, we examine the role of the legislature in drafting and overseeing the execution of policy, paying particular attention to budget bills as bellwethers of legislative autonomy and the cohesiveness of parties and coalitions. We conclude that both the Polish Sejm and the Czech Parliament have developed much of the internal institutional framework to support legislative autonomy, and that in the Czech case in particular, recent experiences with minority government are contributing to this trend.

Legislative Structure: Rules, Precedents, and Jurisdictions
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIV:605–42
In this essay, I review and critique the scholarly literature about rules and other structural arrangements in Congress. My focus is on empirical research that has been informed by rational choice theory. I emphasize three categories of rules—committee jurisdictions, leadership prerogatives, and floor procedure. An implication is that the forces shaping procedural politics vary depending on the aspect of congressional structure under consideration. Structural features within Congress also reflect different levels of institutionalization; procedures often begin as informal practice, gradually become precedent, and eventually are codified as formal rules. Finally, many important aspects of structural development in Congress exhibit significant path dependencies.

Volume XXV, Number 1
February 2000

Parliamentary Floor Voting Procedures and Agenda Setting in Europe
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:3-23

Which voting methods do European parliaments use when they make choices between multiple, mutually exclusive alternatives? To what extent are legislative outcomes affected by differences in floor voting procedures at the final stage of legislative processes? In the first part of the analysis, I describe the parliamentary voting procedures applied in Western and East-Central Europe. It turns out that only two approaches occur: the amendment (elimination) procedure, and the successive procedure. In the second part of the paper, I outline and discuss some normative properties and political consequences of the two parliamentary voting procedures, focusing in particular, on principles of agenda formation.


JOhn D. Huber AND Charles R. Shipan
The Costs of Control: Legislators, Agencies, and Transaction Costs
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:25-52

Political scientists have long studied the relationship between legislatures and agencies—in particular, between Congress and the bureaucracy in the United States. In the past two decades, however, there has been a renewed interest in this topic along with a variety of new theoretical contributions and insights. We review these relatively recent contributions and examine how transaction cost and principal-agent approaches have provided many of them with a theoretical underpinning. Specifically, we examine a series of basic concepts from these literatures and discuss how these concepts can be used both to provide theoretical advances and to suggest ­empirical tests about the relationship between legislatures and agencies.


The Effects of Party Advantage on the Partisan Support
 of New U.S. House Members
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:53-73

We argue that the partisan voting patterns of new members of the House of Representatives are affected by national political conditions. New members of a party advantaged by national forces should exhibit distinctively partisan voting patterns, while new members of the disadvantaged party should not. We use a comparative statics research design to examine eight congresses with large numbers of new members that were also characterized by different national forces. Multivariate OLS models of party support are used to isolate the effects of first-term status while controlling for other factors that might influence a member’s willingness to support his or her party. We find that national forces have the expected general effect on the partisan support of new members of the advantaged party, and that the size of that effect varies with the particular character of the national forces.


Gregory L. Hager and Jeffery C. Talbert
Look for the Party Label: Party Influences on Voting in the U.S. House
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:75-99

Since party is so highly correlated with ideology, party-line voting in the U.S. House may indicate members voting their own preferences. If, however, the reputation of a member’s party is valuable as a cue for voters and other party supporters, then legislators should be willing to vote against their own preferences and for those of their party, at least sometimes. To investigate whether and how often this does occur, we use roll-call data from the House from the 1950s to 1990s to perform cross-sectional and other tests that isolate the effects of parties, including analyses of members who switch parties. Our regression results indicate that party influence on voting has varied, but that there is an effect, even when controlling for ideology.


Jeffery A. Jenkins AND timothy P. Nokken
The Institutional Origins of the Republican Party: Spatial Voting
and the
House Speakership Election of 1855–56
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:101-130

This study explores the Republican Party’s origins at the institutional level, specifically in the 34th House of Representatives. We focus on an especially critical event, the House speakership election of 1855–56, which resulted in the first major victory for the new party. We conduct our analysis by applying the spatial theory of voting to the House balloting for Speaker, using a scaling technique developed by Poole (1998). Results from our spatial model suggest that slavery was the overriding determinant of vote choice throughout the two-month speakership battle. Its effects were considerable from the outset, even in multiple candidate rounds, and proved to be more influential as the balloting progressed. We also find that the issue of nativism, which was so important in the previous congressional elections and would continue to affect the Republicans’ electoral fortunes for several more years, had no impact on members’ votes for speaker. Once elected, the new Republican speaker, Nathaniel Banks, organized the House around anti-slavery tenets, stacking both committees and chairs with anti-slavery advocates. Overall, these results suggest that while the Republicans would struggle for an electoral identity deep into the 1850s—balancing the competing interests of slavery and nativism to win office—they emerged as a single-issue, anti-slavery coalition at the institutional level as early as 1855.


PEverill Squire
Uncontested Seats in State Legislative Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:131-146

Uncontested seats are far more common in U.S. state legislative elections than in U.S. House elections. But the incidence of uncontested seats varies across the states. In this paper, I attempt to explain that variance. Using pooled data on state legislative elections from 1992 to 1996, I test relationships suggested by the ­literature on uncontested seats in U.S. House elections. In addition, I also look at important differences among the state legislatures, such as level of professionalization, the competitiveness of the state’s electoral system, the use of multimember districts, and the institution of term limits. I find that the value of a seat, measured either by professionalization level or member pay, and the competitiveness of the state’s ­electoral system are powerful variables in explaining the incidence of uncontested seats across the states. Region also is important, with state legislatures in the South suffering a higher percentage of uncontested seats than state legislatures in the North.

Volume XXV, Number 2
May 2000

On the Effects of Legislative Rules
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:169-92
In this essay, I consider how a legislature’s rules of procedure can affect both the process and the outcome of legislation. I begin by asking whether or not rules of procedure should have any effects at all, given that they can often be changed by simple majorities of legislators. The second part of the essay classifies the effects that rules have. Rules can change the set of bills that plenary sessions of the legislature consider; they can change the menu of amendments to any given bill considered in the plenary; they can affect how members vote; and—putting the first three effects together—they can affect which bills pass. I review evidence that rules do in fact have the suspected effects.

Positive Theories of Congressional Parties
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:193-215
In recent years, positive theories of congressional parties have been elaborated to encompass a variety of institutional features. The seasoning of the field is reflected in its contrasting theoretical accounts of the existence of parties and their effects, and the return to empirical evidence in a set of insightful studies of modern congressional decision making. This paper provides a critical review of this recent literature and suggests some unfinished tasks in the development of this field.

Interest Groups, Congressional Reform, and Party Government in the United States
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:217-35
The generally accepted explanation for the congressional reforms of the 1970s is that Northern Democrats sought greater control over the legislative process in order to enact a liberal policy agenda. Party leaders, according to this explanation, then acted forcefully and cohesively to satisfy these ideological policy demands. I argue instead that congressional reforms were motivated by the need for House Democrats to raise money for reelection, and that the subsequent policies enacted by party leaders were designed to satisfy important interest group constituencies that supply campaign money. The former argument suggests that interest groups reconcile their policy demands to the ideological policy objectives of the party. My explanation suggests that political parties adjust their policy agendas to satisfy interest group constituencies.

Barry C. Burden, Gregory A. Caldeira, and Tim Groseclose
Measuring the Ideologies of U.S. Senators: The Song Remains the Same
Legislative Studies Quarterly,
This research note discusses and compares nine measures of senator ideology. It is motivated by the newest measure of legislator ideology offered by Hill, Hanna, and Shafqat (1997), which seeks to improve on existing measures, particularly those based on roll-call votes. We gather and compare nine different ideological measures from a wide variety of sources. After evaluating them theoretically and empirically, we conclude that existing indicators operationalize ideology as least as well as the newer alternatives.

alison b. alter and
leslie moscow mcgranahan
Reexamining the Filibuster and Proposal Powers in the Senate
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:259-84
Conventional wisdom views the Senate filibuster as a protection of minority rights. In this paper we challenge this intuition by showing that this common belief always holds true only for specific assumptions about Senate procedures. We show that under an open rule, while the filibuster option may advantage the minority, it is also true that the filibuster option may benefit the proposer at the expense of the minority. Whether the filibuster under an open rule advantages or disadvantages the minority, the majority, or the proposer, is a function of the proposer’s preferred policy, the status quo, and the costs faced by potential filibusterers.

william howell, scott adler, charles cameron,
and charles riemann
Divided Government and the Legislative Productivity of Congress, 1945–94
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:285-312
This paper contributes to the literature on divided government and legislative productivity. We begin by reexamining Mayhew’s data on landmark enactments. We show that Mayhew’s claim that divided government does not affect legislative productivity is a consequence of aggregating time series that exhibit different ­behavior. We then extend Mayhew’s analysis by broadening the concept of significance and creating a new four-category measure that encompasses all 17,663 public laws ­enacted in the period of 1945–94. Using appropriate time-series techniques, we demonstrate that periods of divided government depress the production of landmark legislation by about 30%, at least when productivity is measured on the basis of contemporaneous perceptions of legislative significance. Divided government, however, has no substantive effect on the production of important, albeit not landmark, legislation and actually has a positive effect on the passage of trivial laws.

Television Markets and the Competitiveness of U.S. House Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:313-25  
We argue that the competitiveness of House challengers is in part a function of the district in which they run and its geographic relationship to media markets. When the television market is well matched to the district, incumbents enjoy less of an advantage over challengers in making contact with the voters. In contrast, when the size of the television market is fragmented across more than one market, incumbents enjoy a bigger edge over challengers in getting out their name and message. This in turn affects the likelihood of a challenger defeating an incumbent. We find support for the idea that challengers who run in districts that are better matched with television media markets are more competitive than are challengers running in fragmented districts. But we find, too, that incumbents also benefit from representing districts with congruent media markets, which mitigates some of the benefits gained by challengers.

Changes in Professionalism in U.S. State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:327-43
State legislatures in the United States have changed in many ways since the drive for reform began in the 1960s. Using a modification of Squire’s legislative professional index, this analysis demonstrates that a higher degree of professionalism is a general, but not a universal, trait of state legislatures. Disparities among state legislatures have increased, with some being no more professional today than they were 30 years ago. On the other hand, states that have removed legal restrictions on legislative sessions, whose populations have grown larger, and whose neighbors have more institutionally advanced assemblies have developed more professional legislatures.

Volume XXV, Number 3
August 2000

Congressional Incumbency and the Rise of Split-Ticket Voting
Legislative Studies Quarterly,
Despite the general recognition that incumbency has influenced voters’ decisions to split their ballots for president and the House, past research has not focused on the specific magnitude of this effect and its responsibility for growing ticket-splitting in the United States. In this study, I find that incumbency was a powerful determinant of the step jump in ticket-splitting that occurred from the 1956–68 to 1972–92 periods. This is in contrast to the weak expansive force exerted by declining partisan intensity in the electorate. Incumbency’s impact, however, was confined to districts where members of the losing presidential party run for reelection; in districts with campaigning incumbents of the winning presidential party, it made for only about the level of ticket-splitting that could be expected in open seats.

Benjamin G. Bishin
Constituency Influence in Congress: Does Subconstituency Matter?
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:389-415
Conflicting findings in the congressional roll-call voting literature have been attributed, in part, to scholars’ failure to identify appropriately the subconstituencies to whom legislators appeal when making decisions (Jackson and Kingdon 1992). This paper develops and examines a new model of legislator behavior that accounts for the prospective constituency—the subset of the legal constituency to whom legislators are likely to appeal in the next election. The prospective constituency is based on the idea that legislators consider the views not only of past supporters but also of swing voters and moderate opposing partisans as well. Results from this model are compared to results generated by a traditional model—one that does not account for subconstituency. Models incorporating the prospective constituency find constituency to influence senators’ roll-call decisions, and they offer an explanation for the conflicting results of past studies.

Timothy P. Nokken
Dynamics of Congressional Loyalty: Party Defection and Roll-Call Behavior, 1947–97
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:417-44
I seek to determine whether or not political parties have significant independent effects upon the roll-call behavior of their members. Taking advantage of a natural experiment, I analyze the roll-call behavior of those members of the House and Senate from 1947 to 1997 who changed party affiliation while in office. Using data from the 80th to 105th Congresses, I find that Democrats who become Republicans, for instance, start to vote like Republicans at the time they “cross aisles.” This finding is consistent with the claims made in a growing literature that emphasizes the partisan aspects of congressional organization, and it supports the contention that party plays a direct role in determining members’ roll-call behavior.

J. Matthew Wilson and Paul Gronke
Concordance and Projection in Citizen Perceptions of Congressional Roll-Call Voting
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:445-467
Research on political cognition suggests that individuals absorb and retain more information consistent with their political predispositions than they do information at odds with those predispositions. When citizens view a member of Congress favorably, they should thus be more likely to recall that member’s vote on a bill if it is in agreement with their own positions; additionally, if they do not recall, they will tend to assume that the member voted in accordance with their own preferences. When citizens view a representative negatively, the opposite patterns should obtain. Here, we find considerable evidence for both of these effects—concordance and projection. Attitude toward the representative and agreement on the issue substantially drive citizen perceptions of congressional roll-call voting.

Fiona M. Wright
The Caucus Reelection Requirement and the Transformation of
House Committee Chairs, 1959–94
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:469-80
Standing committee chairs in the House, as a group, are now dramatically more supportive of their party, its leaders, and their agenda than they were in the 1950s and 1960s. I present original data analysis that tests the two dominant explanations for this transformation—first, that it was the direct result of the Caucus reelection requirement for committee chairs and the dramatic removal of three incumbents under this new rule in 1975, and second, that it was simply an artifact of the general increases in partisanship across this same period. The results show that the critical transformation occurred immediately after the new rule was first used in 1975 but well in advance of the resurgent aggregate-level partisanship of the 1980s. This change is statistically significant, even after controlling for general levels of partisanship and other factors commonly expected to have affected the voting behavior of committee chairs between 1959 and 1994.  

David Samuels
Ambition and Competition: Explaining Legislative Turnover in Brazil
Legislative Studies Quarterly, XXV:481-97
 Despite Brazil’s electoral laws, which would appear to encourage incumbency, legislative turnover in Brazil consistently exceeds 50% with each election. In this article, I explain this phenomenon as a function of two factors: the nature of political ambition and the dynamics of electoral competition. Political ambition accounts for about half of the turnover because a sizeable portion of incumbent legislators decides to run for nonlegislative office. Electoral competition accounts for the other half. Since many potentially strong candidates for reelection decide to run for another office the group of incumbents running for reelection is relatively weak. In addition, a wide-open nomination process ensures that incumbents running for reelection face a pool of extremely strong challengers. Finally, Brazil’s at-large, open-list proportional representation electoral system undermines incumbents’ attempts to protect their status. Given these factors, many incumbents lose. I provide evidence for the impact of ambition and competition on legislative turnover in Brazil, place Brazil in comparative perspective, and suggest avenues for further research.  

Phillip L. Gianos
Bipartisan Legislative Delegations and the Mean-Seeking Hypothesis: The Case of Washington, 1948–96
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:499-515
This study examines the hypothesis that voters seek political moderation by balancing one party with the other. Washington State’s weak parties and its bicameral, multimember legislative districts are especially conducive to examining this idea. Therefore, I analyze state legislative election outcomes in Washington State from 1948 to 1996. While divided legislative districts are more ideologically moderate, the variety of patterns by which districts are divided, the frequency with which the same district is both divided and unified, and the frequency of unique patterns of division and unification make it very difficult to infer that district voters are consistently and systematically balancing parties in search of moderation. Divided outcomes are also associated with several measures of mobilization, suggesting that such outcomes are instead by-products of district circumstances, a conclusion also reached by research using individual-level data.

Volume XXV, Number 4
November 2000

glen s. krutz
Getting Around Gridlock: The Effect of Omnibus Utilization on Legislative Productivity
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:533-49
Omnibus legislating—the practice of combining numerous measures from disparate policy areas in one massive bill—has become a standard part of the legislative landscape in Washington and alters lawmaking in important ways; yet we know little about it. In this paper, I consider whether or not the omnibus method positively affects legislative productivity, as is suggested by many observers in Washington and academia. To test this hypothesis, I estimate two different models of legislative production. I find omnibus usage to be a positive and significant independent influence on legislative productivity in both models.

eric schickler and john sides
Intergenerational Warfare: The Senate Decentralizes Appropriations
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:551-75
Most accounts portray the 1890–1910 period of congressional history as an exemplary instance of highly centralized party government. However, we contend that this interpretation obscures other important forces driving institutional development during this time. In 1899, the Senate approved a rule change dispersing jurisdiction over appropriations bills. This change added a significant centrifugal element to the Senate committee system. Taking advantage of new evidence, in particular a petition circulated by supporters of the reform, we assess competing explanations for the appropriations decentralization. We find that junior senators’ demands for increased access to power played an important role in this change. By contrast, partisan considerations played an insignificant role. The 1899 reform indicates the relevance of a causal variable that scholars have typically ignored: “intergenerational warfare” among members of Congress who differ in seniority level. Sectional differences were another key motivation for decentralization. This change, therefore, not only forces a reevaluation of the depiction of the turn-of-the-century Senate as a highly centralized institution, but also suggests the multiple kinds of coalitions that drive congressional development.

jeffrey e. cohen, jon r. bond, richard fleisher, and john a. hamman
State-Level Presidential Approval and Senatorial Support
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:577-90
The effect of public presidential approval on congressional support for the president has been the subject of considerable debate and controversy. Systematic, quantitative studies have been unable to demonstrate convincingly that public approval leads to greater legislative support for the president. The lack of constituency-level public approval data has hindered resolution of the controversy. Studies have relied upon either election results or national-level approval data as substitutes, but both alternatives are problematic as measures of public approval at the constituency level. In this paper, we use new data gathered from 50 state surveys in September 1996 that asked respondents, among other things, to rate the job performance of the president. We test whether or not public approval in the states affects senators’ support for the president and also look at some hypotheses: whether or not minority party status, running for reelection, electoral vulnerability, and presidential coattails interact with constituents’ approval of the president to affect senators’ roll-call support for the president. With controls for partisanship and ideology of the senator and the state, analysis indicates no support for the hypothesis that public approval of the president leads to greater presidential support among senators.

The Puzzling Decline in House Support for Free Trade:
Was Fast Track a Referendum on NAFTA?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:591-610
In 1993, both houses of Congress passed and President Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Just four years later, fast-track legislation stalled short of a vote in the House of Representatives, despite the endorsement of the president and majority-party leaders. Using interest group “head counts” in lieu of roll-call data, I test the theory that fast track was a referendum on the district-level economic impact of NAFTA. The findings show that economic and political aftershocks from NAFTA, including trade-related job losses in many members’ districts, helped to undermine House support for fast track in 1997.

Multimember District Congressional Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:611-43
In the Apportionment Act of 1842, the House of Representatives mandated single-member districts (SMDs) for elections of its members. Before this act, many states had multimember districts (MMDs), and even after this act, Congress permitted some exceptions up until 1967. This paper addresses several questions related to the election of representatives in MMD elections. Herein, I develop a model of MMD elections that predicts that one party will sweep all the seats in this type of election. I then perform empirical analyses to examine and validate the four key assumptions of the model. My prediction that one party will sweep all the seats in an MMD election is verified by examining the actual results of all MMD House races in history. In this paper, I also show that, in general, the diversity of a state’s House delegation increases when the state shifts from general-ticket to single-member districts, but diversity decreases when the state moves in the opposite direction.

richard j. powell
The Impact of Term Limits on the Candidacy Decisions of State Legislators in U.S. House Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:645-61
This study investigates the hypothesis that term limits at the state level increase electoral competition for seats in the U.S. House. With a greater number of ambitious state legislators being unwillingly turned out of office, we can expect that those individuals interested in legislative careers will increasingly turn their attention to Congress. In order to assess whether or not state legislators are more likely to run for Congress in states with legislative term limits, I specified and tested logistic regression models. The models were derived from our prior knowledge of the behavior of strategic politicians and included control variables for theoretically important national- and district-level factors.  

Professional Legislatures and Ambitious Politicians:
Policy Responsiveness of State Institutions
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXV:663-90
This paper examines the relationship between professionalism, progressive ambition, and legislative responsiveness in state legislatures. I argue that professional legislatures that foster and support progressive ambition will be more responsive to aggregate constituency concerns than will less professional legislatures. Institutions that attract progressively ambitious members create a natural incentive for representation because legislators are motivated to identify and respond to the interests of broad-based constituencies in preparation to pursue higher office. Consistent with this argument, I find that states with more professional legislatures and more opportunities for members to progress to higher office have greater aggregate opinion-policy congruence, even after controlling for the effects of electoral competition and alternative policy influences. 

Volume XXVI, Number 1
February 2001


Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal
D-NOMINATE after 10 Years: A Comparative Update to Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll-Call Voting
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:5-29

This paper updates the findings in Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll-Call Voting and compares them to findings for both European legislatures and the United Nations General Assembly. Congress argues that important episodes in American political and economic history can be better understood by supplementing or reinterpreting more traditional analyses with the basic space theory of ideology. In Congress, we measured ideology with D-NOMINATE scores. Here we summarize new estimations that are complete through the 105th Congress. We find that the trend to polarization and unidimensionality identified in Congress has continued unabated. The shift to Republican control after the 1994 elections is part of this trend and does not represent a sharp break in roll-call-voting behavior. Comparison of NOMINATE results for the United States to those for other legislatures both further indicates the ideological character of roll-call voting in Congress and suggests that low-dimensional spatial models apply as well to multiparty systems as to two-party systems.

Charles S. Bullock III, Ronald Keith Gaddie, and Anders Ferrington
When Experience Fails: The Experience Factor in Congressional Runoffs
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Ambition theory identifies political experience as a major correlate of holding higher office. We explore the possibility that under certain conditions, political experience may do little to promote election. Specifically, in runoff primaries experience may not promote a candidate’s prospects for nomination. When an experienced candidate, such as a former state legislator, fails to win a majority in the initial primary, it may indicate that any advantages derived from experience have been discounted by the electorate. The relationship between experience and runoff election success is explored using 87 U.S. House elections from 1982 through 1994. The evidence shows that in runoffs experienced candidates who led their primaries have no advantage, while the greater the experience of the primary runner-up, the more likely it is that the front-runner will be nominated.

Michael Bailey
Quiet Influence: The Representation of Diffuse Interests on Trade Policy, 1983–94
Legislative Studies Quarterly
A core tenet of many approaches to American trade politics is that diffuse interests exert little or no influence on the process. This paper argues, however, that there are theoretical and empirical reasons to believe that diffuse interests can and do influence congressional trade politics. Members of Congress respond to these interests in order to preempt their mobilization by political rivals, interest groups, the president, and the media. This mechanism does not preclude interest group influence but rather points our attention to an additional influence on congressional trade voting. Evidence for this view comes from statistical analyses of ten years of House and Senate trade voting in the eighties and nineties. The results indicate that skilled labor--an interest that receives diffuse benefits from trade but lacks direct organization--has been a statistically significant, consistent, and substantial influence on congressional trade voting.

Daniel Lipinski
The Effect of Messages Communicated by Members of Congress: The Impact of Publicizing Votes
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Although much of the literature examining congressional behavior presumes that representatives can influence how their constituents view them, there is little evidence supporting this belief. Focusing on members’ attempts to convey their positions on two high-profile votes--the 1991 Persian Gulf War Use of Force Resolution and the 1993 Budget Reconciliation Conference Report--I show that these efforts can indeed be successful. Members’ messages to constituents are proxied by the content of official newsletters. Employing National Election Study survey data, I demonstrate that respondents whose representatives put forth the effort to publicize these votes were significantly better able to state correctly their representatives’ positions on these issues.

Jonathan S. Morris
Reexamining the Politics of Talk: Partisan Rhetoric in the 104th House
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Drawing off the work of Maltzman and Sigelman (1996), this paper looks at the propensity of members to speak on the House floor during one minute speeches in the 104th Congress. I used a negative binomial event count model to predict not only who will participate in “one minutes” in general, but also who will engage in partisan rhetoric, which was such an important aspect of the volatile 104th Congress. The model finds that, while general participation can be predicted, we can also use a number of explanatory variables, such as tenure, electoral insecurity, ideological intensity, party rank, constituency time zone, and party identification to understand why some members engage in partisan rhetoric during one minutes and why others do not. The findings have implications both for understanding partisan behavior in the 104th Congress and for understanding and predicting one minute speaking practices in the future.

E. Lee Bernick
Anchoring Legislative Careers
Legislative Studies Quarterly

A general theory developed in industrial psychology, career anchor theory, can be used to aid in understanding legislators’ orientations toward their careers. To determine if legislative anchors exist, I used data from a survey conducted in 1995 of North Carolina legislators. I employed factor analysis of thirteen closed-ended items previously associated with career anchors and the results showed that three legislative anchors do exist: power, service, and specialization. I then assigned factor scores to legislators. A cluster analysis uncovered five groups of legislators, each with a different pattern of association toward the three anchors. Legislative career orientation was associated with attainment of a leadership position, political ambition, and acceptance of legislative norms.


Parliamentary Agenda Control and Legislative Outcomes in Western Europe
Legislative Studies Quarterly

This article gives a comprehensive account of the rules and practices of agenda setting that were typically in force in the lower or single Houses of Western European (national) parliaments during the 1980s. From this account, comparative indices for control of both the budgetary agenda and the lawmaking agenda are developed. These indices are then used to check the empirical validity of hypotheses that expect, as legislative outcomes from agenda control, a reduction of budget deficits and legislative inflation. Finally, possible trade-offs between parliamentary agenda control and control by other decision-making structures outside parliament are explored.

Volume XXVI, Number 2
May 2001


gary w. cox
Agenda Setting in the U.S. House: A Majority-Party Monopoly?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:185-210

How strongly does the majority party control the agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives? In this article, I contrast two spatial models of U.S. House committees--one in which each committee’s agenda is set by the full committee, one in which it is set by the committee’s majority-party contingent. These two models lead to clearly different predictions about (1) who dissents on final passage votes in committee and (2) who files dissents to committee bill reports. Data from the 84th through the 98th Congresses gibe with the partisan model. Majority-party members with a given ideological location dissent substantially less often than do minority-party members with comparable ideological locations. And majority-party dissent rates are extremely low on an absolute scale, with over 50% of majority-party members never dissenting.

alan I. Abramowitz
It’s Monica, Stupid: The Impeachment Controversy and the 1998 Midterm Election
Legislative Studies Quarterly
This paper tests three competing explanations for the outcome of the 1998 midterm election: a normal politics explanation, a peace-and-prosperity explanation, and a scandal backlash explanation. After examining the evidence from the 1998 National Election Study, I conclude that the most important reason for the Republican party’s poor showing in the 1998 midterm election was a voter backlash against Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr and congressional Republicans over their handling of the presidential sex scandal and impeachment inquiry. I then address the question of why congressional Republicans acted as they did, and I examine what implications these findings may have for the ability of the GOP to maintain control of Congress in future elections.

laura w. arnold
The Distribution of Senate Committee Positions: Change or More of the Same?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:227-48

Recent work on the United States Senate has focused on its transformation from a clublike dominance of a few members to one in which individual senators play significant roles in the policymaking process regardless of seniority (Ripley 1969; Sinclair 1989a). Some argue that part of this transformation was the democratization of committee assignments (Sinclair 1988). I examine the degree to which the Senate has democratized its committee assignments and test possible explanations for this democratization process. I argue that changes in committee assignment practices that gave junior members improved assignments were the result of institutional reform rather than membership changes or changes in the Washington environment alone.


John b. gilmour
The Powell Amendment Voting Cycle: An Obituary
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:249-62

The adoption of the Powell amendment on a bill to provide federal aid to education in 1956 is the most widely cited instance of a voting cycle in the U.S. House of Representatives. This article shows, however, that it was not a voting cycle and that the adoption of the Powell amendment was not responsible for the bill’s defeat. Using evidence of members’ preferences derived from their votes on similar measures the next year, I show that the status quo of not passing a bill would have defeated both the original bill and the amended bill.

Kim quaile hill
Multiple-Method Measurement of Legislators’ Ideologies
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:263-74

I offer empirical evidence on the validity and reliability of measures of legislator ideology derived from three different methods: survey research, content analysis of news stories about the legislators from their initial election campaigns, and inferring individual legislators’ ideologies from that of a relevant co-partisan elite. The analysis is replicated for independent samples of U.S. Senators and House members, and indicates that all three methods produce ideology measures of high validity and reliability.

christine leveaux-sharpe
Congressional Responsiveness to Redistricting Induced Constituency Change: An Extension to the 1990s
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:275-86

According to Glazer and Robbins (1985), House members were responsive to redistricting induced changes in the partisan composition of their districts in the 1970s and 1980s. In this paper, I extend the Glazer and Robbins model to the 1990s. It is possible that the high turnover rates observed in the House in the 1990s reflect constituency dissatisfaction with House members’ ability or willingness to modify their roll-call vote behavior after redistricting. Using House members’ nominate scores as the dependent variable, I examine the effect of changes in the Democratic composition of House districts, on roll-call conservatism. The findings reveal that when the Democratic composition of a district decreases due to redistricting, the roll-call vote behavior of the House member becomes more conservative. Although there is much speculation as to what caused the high levels of turnover in the 1990s, a lack of responsiveness on the part of incumbent House members is not the answer. Furthermore, in contrast to the Glazer and Robbins study, I find that senior members seem to be less responsive than their junior counterparts, a finding that suggests a generational effect may be taking place.

Legislative Politics in Authoritarian Brazil
Legislative Studies Quarterly
This paper provides the first model of legislative behavior in nondemocratic settings. Many authoritarian regimes have sought to maintain a façade of democracy by creating “puppet” legislatures. These legislatures should always support the regime since uncooperative behavior risks career-ending punishments. But in spite of potentially high costs, legislators do sometimes rebel against military executives. I show how legislative rebellion can be a rational strategy--even under authoritarian rule. When applied to data from Brazil, the model reveals the durable power of the electoral connection and patronage politics. The methods and model could be easily applied to other cases of legislative rebellion against nondemocratic executives.

Principal-Agent Theory and the Power of State House Speakers
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:319-38
This study examines the power of state House Speakers to test the theory that legislative leaders act as agents of their followers. To accomplish this task, I created an index of the Speakers’ institutional powers for all forty-nine state lower houses. I then examined how these powers are affected by the competitiveness of the state’s electoral system, the professional character of the state’s legislature, and the career opportunities offered to legislators. The data analysis indicates that the distribution of power is shaped predominantly by the strength of electoral competition and the career opportunity structure. The paper explains why these findings are consistent with principal-agent theory.

Volume XXVI, Number 3
August 2001

Editor's Introduction

Keith Krehbiel and Alan Wiseman

Joseph G. Cannon: Majoritarian from Illinois

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:357-89

Congressional scholars regularly identify Speaker Joseph G. Cannon as the personification of centralized authority and partisan strength in the United States Congress. This paper assesses the conventional wisdom on Cannonism by employing the Groseclose-Stewart (1998) method for estimating values of committee seats to study variation in member-specific committee portfolio values. The data are useful both for reassessing the historical thesis of Cannon as tyrant and for testing more recent political science hypotheses about the underpinnings of a strong majority party. The findings fail to corroborate the notions of majority party power and Cannon as tyrant, and, if anything, support a new portrait of Cannon as a majoritarian.


Franco Mattei

Senate Apportionment and Partisan Advantage: A Second Look

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:391-409

In an earlier paper, Lee and Oppenheimer (1997) found that apportionment has generally functioned as a check on majority rule since the institution of direct Senate elections. Also, according to the authors, apportionment has consistently worked to the advantage of Republicans since 1956. Its influence, however, was more pronounced between 1980 and 1986 than in the 6-year electoral cycle ending in 1994. As a result, the authors surmise that the most recent Republican control of the Senate may outlive that of the 1980s. This analysis reconsiders the impact of apportionment on Senate elections. The findings indicate that apportionment’s check on majority rule occurred less frequently than originally claimed; that apportionment’s pro-Republican bias began at least two decades after its alleged onset in 1956; and that the size of apportionment bias is generally smaller than that estimated by Lee and Oppenheimer. Finally, bias did not vary significantly during the two most recent periods of Republican control of the Senate. Hence, apportionment appears ­irrelevant to any forecast about the endurance of the current Republican majority.


Richard L. Fox , Jennifer L. Lawless , and Courtney Feeley

Gender and the Decision to Run for Office

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:411-35

Despite an electoral system that appears to present excellent opportunities for women to win elective office, the number of women candidates remains low. While the initial decision to run for office is critical in understanding women’s continued under-representation in elective office, very little research explores this subject. To examine the manner in which gender affects the decision to seek an elective position, we investigated how men and women in the “pool of eligible candidates” in New York State perceived running for office. Two central findings emerged from our data. First, contrary to findings in previous research, women and men in our sample expressed roughly equal levels of political ambition and viewed the campaign environment similarly. Our second central finding, however, is that important gender differences emerged in the factors that contributed to the decision to run. In other words, women considered many more factors when thinking about running for office, whereas men of all types felt more freedom to launch a candidacy. These findings tend to reinforce the notion that broad patterns of sex-role socialization continue to impede women from full inclusion in the electoral process.



Dancing with the One Who Brought You: The Allocation and Impact of Party Giving to State Legislators

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:437-56

Like their national counterparts, the state parties play an increasingly significant role in the campaigns of their members. Nowhere is that more evident than in the allocation of direct contributions to party candidates. For the parties, the allocation of party support provides opportunities to both win elections and promote subsequent party unity. Yet, as events in Florida in the 1990s indicate, winning ­elections in these politically tumultuous times may make the link between party money and party unity problematic. In 1996 and 1998, Democratic and Republican officials were able to target party funds to those house races where they were likely to do the most good--in competitive races in which party members faced well-funded opponents. At the same time, the receipt of party money did not translate into party support in the 1997 and 1999 legislative sessions.


Aubrey W. Jewett

Partisan Change in Southern Legislatures, 1946-95

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:457-86

What accounts for partisan change in southern legislatures between 1946 and 1995? I draw my hypotheses from general theories of partisan change and tailor them to the South based on history and previous research to explain the variance in southern Republican legislative strength. I estimate a pooled time series analysis of the eleven former Confederate states to test the path model. The model uses Democratic elite liberalism as an endogenous variable in order to determine the overall effect of several important independent variables including black population, black political influence, urbanization, white northern migration, and wealth. Determinants of state legislative partisan change include the following: secular forces such as wealth, urbanization, and migration; political forces such as presidential midterm losses, party organizational strength, and political scandal; party issue stances on race and general party ideology; changes in national party preferences that precede change at lower levels; and finally, rules governing the structure of political opportunity such as reapportionment and participation.


Rachael E. Ingall and Brian F. Cr i sp

Determinants of Home Style: The Many Incentives for Going Home in Colombia

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:487-512

A legislator’s behavior in his or her electoral district, “home style,” reveals much about awareness of constituents’ wishes and the importance attributed to district matters. Legislators who frequently travel home represent their constituents differently than those who do not. In the Latin American country of Colombia, home style is a contentious issue. The country is plagued by violence and corruption, but the national legislature devotes much of its time to “pork barrel politics.” We use data from Colombia, a presidential democracy, to test competing explanations of home style, evaluating several political factors as determinants of variation in legislators’ propensity to go home. We find that higher district magnitudes, spatially concentrated vote patterns, failure to solidify electorally dominated bailiwicks, and electoral invulnerability all contribute to a legislator’s fixation on district concerns. If needed political reforms are to succeed, reform-minded presidents will need allies in the legislature who are relatively less likely to focus on district matters.  


Volume XXVI, Number 4
November 2001


Editor's Introduction



The Effects of Party and Preferences on Congressional Roll-Call Voting

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:533-72

We assess the importance of parties in Congress by comparing roll-call voting behavior against the preferences of members of the House as expressed in surveys conducted during the 1996 and 1998 elections. The surveys were conducted by Project Vote Smart. Our findings support two key conclusions. First, both party and preferences mattered in predicting roll-call behavior in the 103d, 104th, and 105th Congresses. Second, the independent effects of party were present in only about 40% of roll calls. The incidence of party effects was highest on close votes, procedural votes, and key “party” issues. It was lowest on matters of conscience, such as abortion, and “off-the-first-dimension” issues, such as affirmative action and gun control.



The Importance of Issues in Senate Campaigns: Citizens’ Reception of Issue Messages

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:573-97

In this paper, we examine whether or not representatives are successful at communicating their policy priorities to their constituents. We focus our attention on the campaign period because campaigns serve as the primary mechanism for communication between elected representatives and the represented. We examine 57 campaigns for the U.S. Senate between 1988 and 1992 and determine to what extent voters became aware of the specific messages articulated during the course of the campaigns. We find convincing evidence that when candidates and the news media focus on a particular issue (i.e., the economy, health care, environment, education), citizens are more likely to recognize the issue as a campaign theme.



The Key Issue: Constituency Effects and Southern Senators’ Roll-Call Voting on Civil Rights

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:599-621

One striking manifestation of the twentieth-century transformation of ­Southern politics is the liberalization of roll-call voting behavior of Southern Democrats on civil rights issues. One explanation for this shift focuses on the leftward pull of an increasingly mobilized black electorate. A second explanation cites the leftward push of a growing Republican Party. Using data for Southern senators and states from 1969 to 1996, we implement a time series cross-sectional analysis to evaluate the competing explanations. We find that the liberalization of voting patterns was a joint result of the mobilization of the black electorate and the growth of Southern Republicanism.



The Political Representation of Blacks in Congress: Does Race Matter?

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:623-38

Congressional scholars generally take the position that members of Congress don’t have to descriptively mirror their constituents in order to be responsive. Yet ample scholarship has shown that legislators work very hard at identifying with their constituents, at conveying the impression that they are alike in interests and ­opinions. Matching the race of the House member to their constituents’ ratings in the 1996 National Black Election Study, I find that blacks consistently express higher levels of satisfaction with their representation in Washington when that representative is black, even controlling for other characteristics of the legislators, such as political party. This study underscores the value of descriptive representation in the black community and highlights the need for additional empirically based studies of ­political representation.



Influencing from Impaired Administrations: Presidents, White House Scandals, and Legislative Leadership

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:639-59

Journalists and scholars alike have suggested that scandal has a harmful effect on the effectiveness of the political system. Little systematic evidence exists to validate this claim, but we address the problem by offering theoretical reasons and ­empirical evidence that White House scandal--independent of other influences such as public approval of the president--has a negative effect on presidential support in Congress. We analyze individual House members’ votes on key legislation during the Watergate, Iran-contra, and Monica Lewinsky scandals, employing as an independent variable an innovative measure of scandal presence and intensity. Our ­empirical tests show that the usual contextual influences on congressional voting are significant and that scandal has a strong, negative effect on presidential support. After detailing these findings, we conclude with a discussion of implications both for presidential politics and for the presidential leadership literature.

(Appendices A, B, C)



Legislative Professionalism and the Demand for Groups: The Institutional Context of Interest Population Density

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:661-79

Do state interest group systems develop independently of the legislatures they lobby? The Energy-Stability-Area model developed by Gray and Lowery (1996) implicitly suggests they do. I argue that legislative professionalism conditions how group systems respond to environmental factors. As legislatures professionalize, their demand for information from lobbyists decreases. Groups are in this and other ways less effective in professional legislatures and more likely to exit a crowded group system. I model interest density with professionalism as a contextual variable. The results have implications for the number and mix of interests, the impact of lobbying regulations, and the consequences of legislative de-institutionalization.


Volume XXVII, Number 1
February 2002


Editor's Introduction


Gary Reich

Executive Decree Authority in Brazil: How Reactive Legislators Influence Policy

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:5-31

At first glance, wide-ranging presidential decree authority suggests executive branch domination of legislatures. However, decree power may also be a rational delegation of authority by legislators, in accord with their political objectives. Seen in this light, the key issue for legislators is not halting decree authority but reducing the agency losses that result from delegation. This paper shows how decree authority, as practiced in Brazil, constitutes an example of rational delegation by a legislature in which seniority and policy specialization are relatively undervalued. Brazilian legislators prefer to endow presidents with broad decree power and then monitor presidents on an issue-by-issue basis by amending executive decrees. This method of “oversight after delegation” lowers the transaction costs of delegation and speaks to the influence of Brazilian legislators over what is typically seen as an important source of presidential power.


William R. Lowry and Charles R. Shipan

Party Differentiation in Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:33-60

At times, the American political parties are so close in terms of policy positions that critics denounce the lack of a “dime’s worth of difference” between them. At other times, the gap between them on a left-right dimension is huge. How can we explain this variation? We argue that parties can behave rationally as collective units, and that shifts in divergence and convergence can be explained as rational responses to changes within governmental institutions and to shifts in conditions outside. We analyze this argument using adjusted ADA scores (Groseclose, Levitt, and Snyder 1999) to compare voting score differences between the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress from 1952 to 1996. We pose specific hypotheses for potentially important factors shaping party behavior and test them with a multivariate model. Our results support the argument that the variation in the behavioral gap between the two parties in Congress can be explained as rational party responses to internal and external stimuli.


Bryan W. Marshall

Explaining the Role of Restrictive Rules in the Postreform House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:61-85

Four competing explanations have emerged regarding restrictive rules in Congress. Informational theory claims that rules reduce information costs and facilitate committee specialization. The distributional perspective suggests that rules enforce legislative bargains and help members achieve gains-from-trade. Another claim is that rules increase the Rules Committee’s independent influence over policy. Lastly, partisan theory asserts that rules are used to increase the majority party’s influence over policy.


This analysis tests these claims during the 97th, 98th, 104th, and 105th Congresses. The findings demonstrate that theoretical constructs developed in earlier analyses of special rules are not robust over time and across legislative contexts. The results refute majoritarian assertions that rules are used as informational devices. Similarly, little evidence supports the claim that Rules Committee preferences independently affect rule assignment. Instead, a partisan principal-agent framework emerges as the most useful construct to explain procedural choice in the postreform House.


Bernard Grofman, William Koetzle, and Anthony J. McGann

Congressional Leadership 1965–96: A New Look at the Extremism versus Centrality Debate

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:87-105

An examination of the differences between the ideological positions of leaders and other members in the U.S. House of Representatives (1965–96) demonstrates that Republican leaders tend to be significantly to the right of the median Republican member and Democratic leaders tend to be significantly to the left of the median Democratic member. Furthermore, leaders from both parties tend to be ideologically located near the mode of their party’s ideological distribution. These empirical results have implications for issues such as party polarization, conditional party government, and the possibility of separating out party and ideology.


Thad E. Hall

Changes in Legislative Support for the Governor’s Program Over Time

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:107-122

This study examines changes in legislative support for the governor’s legislative agenda in Georgia during the governor’s first term in office (1991–94). I analyze the factors that led legislators to support the governor’s agenda, as well as how the level of support changed between election years and off-years. I use multivariate OLS models of gubernatorial support to determine how support varied (1) between the parties, (2) between factions within parties, and (3) over time. I find that there was wide variation in support among factions in the majority party and that support varied widely between election years and off-years.


Carol S. Weissert and Susan Silberman

Legislative Demands for Bureaucratic Policymaking: The Case of State Medical Boards

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:123-139

While much is known about the relationship between Congress and regulatory agencies, there has been little examination of the role state legislatures play in the activities of state regulatory bodies, particularly those activities related to timely, salient policy issues. This article explores the relationship of state legislatures to medical boards, which are increasingly becoming more policy active. We find that state legislative involvement and influence are the most important determinants of policy-active state medical boards; institutional elements play a secondary role. Major changes in the private health care delivery system affect legislative involvement and play an indirect role in predicting policy activism. We drew our data from a 50-state survey of executive directors of state medical boards.


Volume XXVII, Number 2
May 2002


Editor's Introduction

Stability in Parliamentary Regimes: The Italian Case
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:163-90
In this article, we distinguish legislative stability from government stability and argue that the character of the relationship that exists between them is a complex one in which various combinations are possible. We focus on Italy because of the manner in which it has combined legislative stability with government instability. Our findings indicate that the relationship between legislative and government stability in Italy is best seen as curvilinear, that the analysis of government stability must take the number of governments as well as the duration of governments into account, and that the attributes of the party system that stabilize the legislature destabilize governments. Given these findings, we discuss their implications for explaining stability in parliamentary regimes in terms of events, “strong parties,” and strategic calculation. We conclude that legislative stability should not be treated simply as a secondary or derivative effect of government stability and that Italy can serve as a benchmark for further study of the nature and determinants of the relationship between the two in other parliamentary systems.

Keith Krehbiel and Adam Meirowitz
Minority Rights and Majority Power: Theoretical Consequences of the Motion to Recommit
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:191-217
Motivated by the U.S. Congress’s motion to recommit with instructions to report forthwith, we analyze a simple spatial model to clarify the relationship between early-stage agenda-setting rights of a committee or the majority party, a late-stage minimum parliamentary right of the minority party or a noncommittee member, and the distribution of power over outcomes. The extent to which certain parliamentary rights empower agents is dependent on the relative locations of the exogenous status quo and the preferences of the legislators. We derive comparative statics on the relationship between proposal order and power by considering a model that allows preference heterogeneity and status quo centrality to vary. Finally, we relate the findings to recurring substantive debates on majority party power and committee power.

John R. Hibbing
How to Make Congress Popular
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:219-44
Conventional wisdom holds that Congress is unpopular because it does not measure up to the people’s populist expectations. Instead of being the “citizen’s legislature” that the people desire, it is an institutionalized legislature with well-paid, longtime members and an elaborate infrastructure of committees, caucuses, parties, and perquisites. The people, it is alleged, desire more of a voice in the decisions made by Congress, they want congressional procedures to be more open so ordinary people know what is going on in the halls of power, and they want more accountability and more representation of the interests of real people. In this paper, I argue that the enactment of this populist reform agenda would actually make Congress substantially less popular with the people. In other words, I contend that the more Congress gives people voice, accountability, representation, and open, visible procedures, the more the people will be dissatisfied with Congress. The real cause of congressional unpopularity is not that people would rather make decisions themselves but that people do not trust members of Congress to make decisions in a non-self-interested fashion.

david R. Jones and Monika L. McDermott
Ideological Distance from the Majority Party and Public Approval of Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:245-64

We analyze whether or not perceived ideological distance from the congressional majority party influences individuals’ approval of the way Congress as a whole handles its job. We argue that, to the extent citizens see the majority party as representing an ideological stance that is distant from their own, they are unlikely to feel that Congress is representing them and therefore will be less supportive toward Congress. In contrast, when members of the public feel that the congressional majority is close to them ideologically, they are likely to feel well represented by and thereby approve of Congress. Using cross-sectional data covering periods of Democratic, Republican, and split party control of Congress (1980–98), this analysis provides strong support for the ideological proximity argument.

G. Patrick Lynch
Midterm Elections and Economic Fluctuations: The Response of Voters Over Time
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:265-94

Recent empirical work (Alesina and Rosenthal 1995; Erikson 1990) has shown that economic conditions may not have influenced House midterm elections since 1915. I argue that economic conditions may have influenced House midterms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Congress dominated economic policy-making, parties offered starker positions on economic issues, and national issues dominated House elections. As the 20th century progressed, congressional power over the economy declined, the parties converged over certain economic policies, and district-level forces grew more important in elections. I test the stability of the relationship between the economy and House midterms over time, using F-tests to show how the impact of macroeconomic conditions has changed in House midterm elections from 1872 to 1994. The results indicate that the gross national product (GNP) influenced House races before 1913 but, as the 20th century continued, the importance of the economy on House midterms declined.  
(Appendix of Variable Data)

The Color of Their Skin or the Content of Their Behavior? Race and Perceptions of African American Legislators
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Previous studies have shown that, because of their race, African American candidates for public office are often evaluated less favorably than their colleagues by voters. Does this dynamic continue when black candidates become elected officials? Using data on the North Carolina General Assembly, I address this question by examining the effects of race on perceptions of legislative effectiveness. When the dependent variable is the average effectiveness rating given by three groups--lobbyists, journalists, and other legislators--there is evidence that African American representatives are evaluated negatively because of their race. When the dependent variable is disaggregated into the separate effectiveness ratings given by each of the respondent groups individually, these negative perceptions of blacks on account of race remain on the part of lobbyists and other legislators, but not for journalists. Moreover, the negative perceptions of black representatives are not mitigated by these representatives possessing certain characteristics (e.g., seniority and leadership positions) that previous studies have found to be correlated with positive effectiveness evaluations. The presence of an African American Speaker in one legislative session did, however, seem to attenuate the negative perceptions.  

Volume XXVII, Number 3

August 2002


Editor's Introduction



The Emergence of Career Politicians in Post-Communist Democracies: Poland and the Czech Republic

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:333-59

Despite party system fluidity and high rates of electoral volatility in the first decade after the transition to democracy in Poland and the Czech Republic, career politicians are emerging. Using data on all parliamentary candidates in the last election before the fall of communism and in all elections since then, we show that, in both countries, parliamentary carryover rates have risen substantially, a growing number of incumbents are seeking reelection, and an increasing proportion of candidates for legislative office have competed in previous parliamentary elections. Moreover, we demonstrate that prior political experience has a persistent and positive effect on winning office. We argue that the rise of career politicians facilitates the consolidation and effectiveness of these new democracies.


Erik S. Herron

Electoral Influences on Legislative Behavior in Mixed-Member Systems: Evidence from Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:361-81

This article addresses how mixed-member systems that combine proportional representation (PR) and single-member districts (SMD) into a single election can influence legislators’ voting behavior. Scholars have generally extended standard expectations of behavior to mixed-member systems by assuming that legislators occupying PR seats in mixed-member parliaments should be more cohesive than those occupying SMD seats. I argue that controlling for seat type alone does not take into account the interaction between PR and SMD in mixed-member systems. Using voting data from Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, I show that controlling for dual candidacy and the “safety” of the deputy’s district or list position increases our understanding of the factors motivating legislative cohesion.


Brian Newman and Charles Ostrom, Jr.

Explaining Seat Changes in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1950–98

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:383-405

Recent U.S. House elections have challenged existing models of congressional elections, raising the question of whether or not processes thought to govern previous elections are still at work. Taking Marra and Ostrom’s (1989) model of congressional elections as representative of extant theoretical perspectives and testing it against recent elections, we find that the model fails. We augment Marra and Ostrom’s model with new insights, constructing a model that explains elections from 1950 to 1998. We find that, although presidential approval ratings and major political events continue to drive congressional elections, the distribution of open seats must also be taken into account.


Martin P. Wattenberg and Craig Leonard Brians

Partisan Turnout Bias in Midterm Legislative Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVI:407-21

Lower salience elections present greater opportunities for representational bias at the polls than do elections with higher levels of political interest. We hypothesize that turnout bias is most likely to occur during midterm congressional elections in which there are clear short-term forces that exploit the low turnout setting. The effects of these forces are more likely to be observable among registered nonvoters than citizens who are not registered to vote because registrants have access to the polls and are likely to have voted in previous presidential contests. Using midterm National Election Study data from 1978 to 1998, we find that registered nonvoters are frequently more Democratic than midterm election voters, particularly in 1994 and 1998. The historic 1994 congressional election seat losses for Democrats may be partially explained by the finding that voters going to the polls were clearly more conservative than registered nonvoters.


Mark D. Brewer, Mack D. Mariani, and Jeffrey M. Stonecash

Northern Democrats and Party Polarization in the U.S. House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:423-44

Over the last 25 years, there has been a steady increase in party voting in the U.S. House, with much of this increase attributed to changes in the South. We argue that changes in the North are also important. Democrats now win a higher percentage of elections in the North, and a larger percentage of the congressional party comes from the North. Northern Democrats became steadily more liberal in the 1980s and 1990s, which increased the liberal record of the entire party. We examine two factors in the rise in liberal voting in the North. First, Democrats now win more seats in urban, lower-income, nonwhite districts that tend to generate liberal voting records. Second, there has been an increase in the number of districts that tend to produce liberal-voting Democrats. Together, these changes have resulted in more liberal Democratic Party voting and greater polarization between the parties.



Samuel H. Fisher III and Rebekah Herrick

Whistle While You Work: Job Satisfaction and Retirement from the U.S. House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:445-57

The literature analyzing the effects of job satisfaction on congressional retirement has been inconclusive. The problem with this literature is its reliance on indirect measures of job satisfaction. We use a direct measure of job satisfaction to demonstrate that job satisfaction does have a significant independent effect on congressional retirement. The findings imply that the indirect measures of job satisfaction measure frustration as opposed to job dissatisfaction, a conceptually different variable. The fact that members’ job satisfaction affects their career length suggests that a Congress that keeps its members happy will have greater retention and will, presumably, keep its best members.


Robert M. Stein, Martin Johnson, and Stephanie Shirley Post

Public Support for Term Limits: Another Look at Conventional Thinking

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:459-80

Americans are enamored with term limits for elected officials at all levels of government. Explanations of public support for term limits focus on partisanship, group underrepresentation, voter dissatisfaction with specific political institutions, political cynicism, and ideology. We qualify the conventional wisdom that term limits are mostly a Republican issue: Support for term limits is more a function of the incongruence between an individual’s expressed partisanship and the party of their representative than of the individual’s party affiliation. Further, the effect of unsatisfactory representation is strongly related to a voter’s engagement with politics and willingness to monitor political affairs actively.



Seats That May Not Matter: Testing for Racial Polarization in U.S. City Councils

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:481-508

Critics of the Voting Rights Act claim that electoral structures used by city councils lead to racially polarized legislatures in which African American members are consistently outvoted by white majorities. Using council votes from six cities, this study shows that the critics’ claim is exaggerated. In only one city were African American council members generally less likely to be on the winning side of votes because of their race. Polarization is more of a concern for particular issues: members with large black constituencies were less likely to be on the winning side of votes on housing or police affairs in four cities.


Volume XXVII, Number 4

November 2002




Jennifer Wolak, Adam J. Newmark, Todd McNoldy, David Lowery, and Virginia Gray

Much of Politics Is Still Local: Multi-State Lobbying in State Interest Communities

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:527-55

We explore the nationalization of state lobbying communities by examining all lobbying registrations held by organizations in the 50 states in 1997, with special attention given to the frequency of multi-state registrations. Following discussion of the meanings and sources of nationalization among state interest communities, we develop and analyze several measures of the level of localism, examining what factors drive variation in multiple state registrations across group types and states. Finally, we discuss the substantive and measurement implications of the nationalization of state interest communities. Our findings identify an interesting paradox of interest representation before state legislatures: although lobbying responses and techniques may have become more nationalized, the composition of state interest communities remains predominantly local.


Vicky M. Wilkins and garry Young

The Influence of Governors on Veto Override Attempts: A Test of Pivotal Politics

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:557-75

Using the “switcher” analysis developed by Krehbiel (1998), we examine the ability of Missouri governors to sway legislators on veto override attempts. Our initial results closely mirror Krehbiel’s finding that the chief executive successfully achieves influence at and around the veto pivot, but these results change once we take into account the political party of the legislators. Governors are far more likely to influence legislators from their own party, regardless of legislator ideology. Our study provides a rare systematic analysis of gubernatorial influence in the legislative arena, while also contributing to the current debate over preference-based versus partisan-based theories of legislatures.


Thomas J. Rudolph

The Economic Sources of Congressional Approval

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:577-99

Models of congressional approval have, in both theory and specification, often imitated models of presidential approval. Through their modeling decisions, researchers have implicitly assumed that the economic determinants of presidential and congressional approval are identical. Such assumptions have discouraged other researchers from testing competing hypotheses about the economic determinants of congressional approval. Using aggregate-level time-series analysis, this study investigates the question of whether or not the economic determinants of approval vary by the target of political judgment. I find that presidential approval is driven largely by sociotropic prospections, a result consistent with previous research. In contrast, I find the public relies most heavily upon egocentric retrospections when judging the U.S. Congress.


Matthew N. Green

Institutional Change, Party Discipline, and the House Democratic Caucus, 1911–19

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:601-33

The House Democratic Caucus of 1911 to 1919 is a largely understudied institution in the literature on congressional party government, despite the claims of many scholars that the caucus functioned as a significant instrument of party government by binding legislators’ floor votes. An analysis of roll-call votes, new data from the caucus journal, and contemporary accounts from the period indicate that these claims are largely exaggerated, although the caucus did, on occasion, improve floor discipline within the party. I find that intraparty homogeneity on crosscutting issues was related to caucus success. In addition, I argue that the adoption and use of the binding caucus can best be understood from the “multiple goals” viewpoint of congressional politics. These findings have important implications for understanding the development of party-based institutions in Congress.


Olga Shvetsova

Gaining Legislative Control Through Strategic District Nomination: The Case of the Russian Left in 1995

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:635-57

The greater the importance of the legislative goals for a party, the more it will concern itself in the electoral campaign with the parliament’s ultimate composition, rather than simply its own seat gains. While unquestionably the dominant force in the political left, the Communist Party in Russia was also uniquely positioned in the 1995 election to take advantage of the combination of electoral and parliamentary institutions and to devise a nomination strategy that made the rest of the parliament’s left wing fully dependent on the Communists, thus giving the Communists effective control over the legislature despite their minority status.


Hussin Mutalib

Constitutional-Electoral Reforms and Politics in Singapore

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVII:659-72

The existence of a dominant one-party system in Singapore makes legislative passage of constitutional and electoral system reforms easy. Such a system has enabled the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) government to formulate and implement sweeping reforms with little difficulty, however controversial they are. Since 1980, the Singapore government has instituted nonconstituency MPs, nominated MPs, group representation constituencies, and an elected presidency. Although not necessarily intended, one consequence of these reforms has been the consolidation of the government’s power.



Volume XXVIII, Number 1
February 2003





Defending the Institutional Status Quo: Communist Leadership of the Second Russian State Duma, 1996–99

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:5-28

The 1995 Russian parliamentary elections returned a State Duma dominated by an alliance of the Communist Party (CPRF) and the Agrarian (APG) and Popular Power (PP) groupings, whose combined number fell just four votes short of an overall majority. Such a powerful voting bloc might have been expected to undo the power-sharing principles on which the First Duma (1994–95) operated. Rather than challenge the status quo, however, the CPRF defended it on several occasions. In this paper, I argue that existing arrangements held benefits for the CPRF and its leftist allies. In the absence of a stable, disciplined majority, the Duma’s rules gave leftist deputies the incentives and flexibility to organize collectively.


Naoko Kada

The Role of Investigative Committees in the Presidential Impeachment Processes in Brazil and Colombia

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:29-54

One of the most important political debates today regards how to design institutions to ensure the accountability of public officials. The impeachment process is one mechanism of accountability check available to legislatures. It is, however, susceptible to misuse. What determines how the impeachment process functions? In this paper, I argue that control of information by congressional investigation committees is a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the impeachment process. I show how the difference in information control by the investigative committees in Brazil and Colombia contributed to the removal of a president in one country and a president’s acquittal in the other.


Christian R. Grose and Antoine Yoshinaka

The Electoral Consequences of Party Switching by Incumbent Members of Congress, 1947–2000

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:55-75

What are the electoral consequences of switching parties for incumbent members of Congress? Do incumbents who switch fare better or worse after their switch? Aldrich (1995) and Aldrich and Bianco (1992) present a model of party affiliation for all candidates. We empirically extend this model for incumbent legislators who have switched parties. Specifically, we look at the universe of incumbent representatives who have run for Congress under more than one party label since World War II. We find that the primary and general election vote shares for party switchers are not as high after the switch as before. Additionally, we learn that party switching causes the primaries in the switcher’s party and in the the opposing party (the switcher’s “old” party) to become more competitive in the short run. Over the long run, however, primaries in the switcher’s new party are less competitive than those in the old party before the switch.


John Frendreis, Alan R. Gitelson , Shannon Jenkins , and Douglas D. Roscoe

Testing Spatial Models of Elections: The Influence of Voters and Elites on Candidate Issue Positions

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:77-101

This research tests spatial models of electoral competition using survey data on state legislative candidates’ policy positions and ideology in eight U.S. states. Our data support several hypotheses: 1) candidates’ issue positions do not converge; 2) party elites have more extreme positions than do candidates; 3) candidate issue positioning is a function of party-elite issue positions and union involvement in the campaign, as well as constituency characteristics; and 4) when candidates rely heavily on elite resources during their campaign, elites become more important in shaping candidate issue positions.



Sources of Competition in State Legislative Primary Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:103-26

Primaries are an important but understudied component of American elections. In this article, I examine competition in state legislative primaries across 25 states during the 1994 and 1996 election cycles. My findings indicate that competition varies greatly and is affected by a number of factors on the state and district levels. The presence of an incumbent reduces competition, but strong district support for a party leads to greater competition in that party’s primaries. Population size and social diversity do little to affect competition, but urbanism and unified party control have a positive impact. Further, legislative professionalism is associated with greater competition, particularly in open-seat races. Overall, the results have important implications for theories about the conditions that enhance or inhibit competition across different types of elections.


Volume XXVIII, Number 2
May 2003




Michael A. Bailey

The Politics of the Difficult: Congress, Public Opinion, and Early Cold War Aid and Trade Policies

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:147-77

Many foreign policies central to American cold war efforts were politically difficult. Understanding the politics behind these policies is important for understanding the capacity of democracies to implement difficult but strategically important policies. I argue that we must recognize the important role of public opinion. When the public is unified, popular preferences permeate and dominate the entire political system. For the case of the early cold war, I present quantitative evidence that public attitudes about national security influenced Senate voting on security aid and trade issues. My tests employ previously unused opinion data and take advantage of methodological advances in the analysis of panel data.


Erika Moreno

Subnational Determinants of National Multipartism in Latin America

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:179-201

Recent research points to the importance of subnational elections as variables shaping the national party system in federal states (Jones 1997b; Mainwaring and Shugart 1997; Samuels 2000). I propose that the effects of subnational elections are not limited to federal states but instead can be seen throughout the region. This paper examines the impacts of gubernatorial elections across eighteen Latin American countries during the most recent democratic period. The analysis suggests that intermediate subnational elections do exert an influence on national party systems, whether the state is federal or not, and particularly influence how many parties are elected to a legislature’s lower house.


Brian F. Schaffner, Wendy J. Schiller, and Patrick J. Sellers

Tactical and Contextual Determinants of U.S. Senators’ Approval Ratings

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:203-23

This paper focuses on U.S. senators and their home-state approval ratings from 1981 to 1997. We examine these ratings to assess the relative impacts of tactical factors, such as the senators’ bill sponsorship and media activity, and contextual influences, such as economic performance, state population size, and the evaluations and behavior of other elected officials. We find that the senators’ own tactical behavior affects the approval ratings, but a stronger influence is the context in which the senators operate.


Gregory Koger

Position Taking and Cosponsorship in the U.S. House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:225-46

Bill cosponsorship has become an important part of the legislative and electoral process in the modern House of Representatives. Using interviews with congressional members and staff, I explain the role of cosponsorship as a signal to agenda setters and a form of position taking for constituents. Regression analysis confirms that cosponsoring varies with a member’s electoral circumstances, institutional position, and state size, but generally members have adapted slowly to the introduction of cosponsorship to the rules and practice of the House.


Mario Bergara, Barak Richman, and Pablo T. Spiller

Modeling Supreme Court Strategic Decision Making: The Congressional Constraint

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:247-80

This paper addresses the contradictory results obtained by Segal (1997) and Spiller and Gely (1992) concerning the impact of institutional constraints on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision making. By adapting the Spiller and Gely maximum likelihood model to the Segal dataset, we find support for the hypothesis that the Court adjusts its decisions to presidential and congressional preferences. Data from 1947 to 1992 indicate that the average probability of the Court being constrained has been approximately one-third. Further, we show that the results obtained by Segal are the product of biases introduced by a misspecified econometric model. We also discuss how our estimation highlights the usefulness of Krehbiel’s model of legislative decision making.


Volume XXVIII, Number 3
August 2003


Editor's Introduction


Eric Schickler, Eric McGhee, and John Sides
Remaking the House and Senate:
Personal Power, Ideology, and the 1970s Reforms
Legislative Studies Quarterly

Although much has been written on the critical congressional reforms of the 1970s, few studies have analyzed support for reform systematically. In this article, we draw upon previously untapped sources of information that make an individual-level, quantitative analysis possible. We analyze 20 indicators that measure support for a wide variety of reforms in both chambers. Our results reveal a remarkably consistent pattern: in virtually every case, junior members and liberals were more pro-reform than were senior members and conservatives. Also, Republicans were often more likely than Democrats to back reform. Our findings challenge the view that the reform movement was essentially a Democratic party phenomenon; liberals and junior members in both parties—not just Democrats—supported reform.


James S. Coleman Battista

An Ambition-Theoretic Approach to Legislative Organizational Choice

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:333-55

Understanding legislative organization requires that we understand internal institutional choice; we must be able to describe and predict variation in internal structures across legislatures rather than simply explain a given structure. Currently, models that would enable us to do so are largely unavailable. This article offers a more general model, based on a variant of ambition theory, with the explicit purpose of examining variation in internal organization rather than a particular structure. Theoretical results indicate that legislators’ strategic preferences over structures will fall into distinct and opposed types. This finding implies that legislatures themselves should fall into the same types and that structures, rules, and norms should appear in organized, relatively coherent bundles linked to varying legislator types.

(Technical Appendix)


William D. Anderson, Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, and Valeria Sinclair-Chapman 

The Keys to Legislative Success in the U.S. House of Representatives

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:357-86

Our research addresses how individual member behavior and institutional ­variables affect legislative success in the U.S. House of Representatives. Using new measures of activity from the 103d Congress (1993–94), a count dependent variable, and negative binomial regression, our analysis assesses member effectiveness. We find that a member’s activity level encourages legislative success, but gains are limited when members speak or sponsor too frequently. Our results provide a clearer picture of the role of legislative context and the relevance of institutions in determining a member’s legislative successes and failures.


David C. King and Richard J. Zeckhauser

Congressional Vote Options

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:387-411

Numerous accounts reveal that congressional leaders often secure “hip-pocket votes” or “if you need me” pledges from rank-and-file legislators. These are essentially options on votes. Leaders exercise sufficient options—pay legislators to convert to favorable votes—when those options will yield victory. Otherwise, they release the options. A model shows that this optimal strategy for leaders produces many small victories, few small losses, and losses that are, on average, larger than victories. We find precisely these patterns, hence strong evidence for vote options, in Congressional Quarterly key votes from 1975 through 2001 and in non-key votes from the 106th Congress (1999–2000).


Daniel Lipinski, William T. BiancO, and Ryan Work

What Happens When House Members “Run with Congress”? The Electoral Consequences of Institutional Loyalty

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:413-29

This article characterizes the electoral consequences of messages of institutional loyalty and disloyalty sent by incumbent House members to their constituents. We show that, for the contemporary House, there is variation in these messages—not all incumbents in the contemporary House “run for Congress by running against Congress.” Moreover, we show that these messages can, under the right conditions, have significant electoral consequences, even after controlling for party affiliation and district political factors. In addition to demonstrating the electoral relevance of legislators’ presentations, our results show an incumbent-level link between constituents’ trust in government and their voting behavior—a link created by interaction between constituents’ perceptions, legislators’ party affiliations, and the messages that legislators send to their constituents.


Volume XXVIII, Number 4
November 2003


Editor's Introduction


Octavio Amorim Neto and Fabiano Santos

The Inefficient Secret Revisited: The Legislative Input and Output of Brazilian Deputies

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII: 449-79

Shugart and Carey (1992) posit that presidential democracies in which ­legislators have a parochial focus of representation are electorally inefficient because voters are not offered highly identifiable choices over national policies. Such systems are driven by an inefficient secret, which is essentially a nonpartisan representation of the policy process. To check the propositions of the inefficient secret model (ISM), this article investigates the aggregation level, effect, and subject of Brazilian deputies’ legislative input and output. Our empirical analysis indicates that, although some ISM-related factors drive legislative output, there is partisanship in deputies’ legislative input. This result means that the ISM underestimates the prospects for programmatic parties (especially in opposition) to emerge within systems where the electoral and constitutional rules encourage particularism.


Jeffery A. Jenkins and Charles Stewart III

Out in the Open: The Emergence of Viva Voce Voting in House Speakership Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:481-508

We examine the internal politics that preceded the House adoption in 1839 of viva voce (voice) voting for Speaker and other House officers. First, we find that the struggles over the rule’s adoption actually centered on the election of the House Printer. These struggles were tied to attempts by the two major parties to establish effective newspaper networks to assist in national political campaigns. Democrats generally favored public election of House officers, whereas Whigs generally ­opposed. In the short term, the change to public voting for Speaker and other House officers had the expected effect of instilling greater partisan regularity among House members. As sectional divisions grew in the nation at large, however, the public election of the Speaker made it increasingly difficult for House leaders to forge the transregional coalitions necessary to organize the House.


James R. Rogers

The Impact of Bicameralism on Legislative Production

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:509-28

It is generally accepted by scholars, as well as by cameral partisans, that adding a second chamber to an otherwise unicameral legislative process will decrease the volume of laws that a legislature enacts. This study challenges the conventional wisdom. First, I offer a simple theoretical argument that shows that when second chambers can originate as well as reject legislation, bicameralism will have an indeterminate impact on legislative production. Second, I provide historical data gathered from the four U.S. states that have experienced cameral transitions. Although very rudimentary, the historical evidence, when coupled with the theoretical argument, raises serious doubt regarding the traditional claim that bicameralism reduces the production of legislation.


Michael S. Rocca

Military Base Closures and the 1996 Congressional Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:529-50

This article examines the extent to which changes in distributional benefits influence congressional election outcomes. Although conventional wisdom holds that a direct link exists between distributional benefits and electoral outcomes (Mayhew 1974b), recent evidence suggests that this link only exists under certain circumstances (Stein and Bickers 1994). In this article, I use 1995 military base closures to test the nature of the relationship. Contrary to recent research on the politics of pork ­barreling, my findings indicate support for a direct relationship between major base realignments and closures and House electoral outcomes. Specifically, major realignments and closures significantly decreased first-year Democrats’ vote margins in the 1996 House elections.


Marian L. Currinder

Leadership PAC Contribution Strategies and House Member Ambitions

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXVIII:551-77

Leadership political action committees (PACs) are committees headed by ­federal politicians but separate from the politicians’ personal campaign committees. Like other PACs, leadership PACs receive donations from individuals and groups, then make contributions to the political candidates that they support. Previous research indicates that member contribution strategies reflect both party-based and personal goals. Using a range of data from before and after the 1994 “Republican Revolution,” this study fills a void in the existent research by testing whether or not House members with leadership PACs switch contribution strategies once their party status changes. My analysis reveals that a shift in party status tends to produce a subsequent shift in contribution strategy. My findings also suggest that members, while acting within a party-based framework, may target their contributions in ways that also reflect their personal goals.  



Volume XXIX, Number 1

February 2004


Editor's Introduction


Sarah A. Binder and Forrest Maltzman

The Limits of Senatorial Courtesy

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:5-22

Because of senatorial courtesy, scholars typically assume that presidents defer to home state senators from their party when selecting judges for the federal courts. We challenge this view, arguing that presidents face structural incentives that encourage them to consult broadly with senators across the partisan and ideological spectrums in choosing nominees. Using new data on the fate of judicial vacancies on the federal district courts between 1947 and 1998, we show how institutional and political forces increase interested senators’ leverage in choosing federal judges. Senatorial courtesy, we conclude, has its limits, given presidents’ incentives to consult with institutionally empowered senators in selecting nominees.


John M. Carey and Gina Yannitell Reinhardt

State-Level Institutional Effects on Legislative Coalition Unity in Brazil

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:23-47

How do subnational factors affect the proclivity of legislators from the same party or coalition to vote together? We estimate the effects of two institutional forces operating at the state level—intralist electoral competition and alliance with governors—on voting unity among coalition cohorts to the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. Larger cohorts, in which the imperative for legislators to distinguish themselves from the group is stronger, are less unified than smaller cohorts. We find no net effect of alliance with governors on cohort voting unity. Governors are not dominant brokers of legislative coalitions, a result suggesting that the net gubernatorial effect is contingent on factors that shape governors’ influence relative to that of national-level legislative actors.


Tasos Kalandrakis

Bicameral Winning Coalitions and Equilibrium Federal Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:49-79

I analyze the legislative interaction between representatives from big and small states in a bicameral legislature that decides on the allocation of a fixed resource among the states. I assume that the two houses are malapportioned and that the big states are underrepresented in the upper house. By studying the effect of this and other institutional features on the relative welfare of big and small states and on equilibrium coalitions, I find that, contrary to common belief, an increase in the representation of small states may reduce those states’ expected payoff, ceteris paribus. Also, contrary to interpretations of minimum-winning-coalition theorems, I demonstrate that excess majorities may occur in one of the two houses. When proposal making tends to be dominated by big (small) states, excess majorities occur in the upper (lower) house. I also find that higher proposal power increases the payoff of a group of states. Changes in the majority requirements in the two houses and expansion to encompass more small (big) states have non-monotonic effects on the relative welfare of the two groups. I conclude my analysis with an empirical application using calibrations results for the 103d U.S. Congress and the legislative institutions of the European Union before and after the Treaty of Nice.


L. Marvin Overby, Thomas A. Kazee, and David W. Prince

Committee Outliers in State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:81-107

In this paper, we extend recent work exploring the prevalence of outlying committees in American state legislatures. Using an expanded sample of 45 states and measures of legislator preferences generated by a single, federated group, we find that most legislative committees are representative of the parent chambers from which their members are selected. Furthermore, we test multivariate models designed to account for theoretically relevant patterns in variations in outlier percentages among control and noncontrol committees. The fact that our models are such poor predictors of nonrepresentative committees speaks to the idiosyncratic nature of the relatively small percentage of outlying committees in the states. This conclusion, in turn, provides further support for the proposition that representative committees are simply rational.


Jocelyn Elise Crowley

When Tokens Matter

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:109-36

Tokens, or low levels of minority or female representatives in state legislatures, have been studied with respect to their perceptions of self-efficacy and political attitudes but not with respect to their actual influence on the passage of public policy. This paper uses state-level data from the child support program between the years 1976–84 to measure the influence of women tokens on the policy process. Using ordered probit models, I explore policy adoption under three configurations: (1) a test of the independent impact of tokens, (2) a dynamic test of the differential impact of tokens and nontokens to analyze potential backlash effects and the potential diffusion of policy preferences, and (3) an interactive test on the potential for tokens to form coalitions. My analysis strongly suggests that tokens make a policy difference independently and to a greater extent than when they are on the cusp of becoming nontokens, but I found less support for the idea that tokens successfully form coalitions to achieve specific policy goals.  


Volume XXIX, Number 2

May 2004


Editor's Introduction


Gary C. Jacobson, Samuel Kernell, and JefFrey Lazarus

Assessing the President’s Role as Party Agent in Congressional Elections: The Case of Bill Clinton in 2000

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 159-84  

Presidents have become their parties’ chief fund-raisers and thus have the capacity to further their parties’ collective fortunes by imposing a more efficient distribution of campaign resources than might otherwise prevail. In order to succeed, presidents must, first, accurately target their efforts where they will best improve candidates’ prospects for winning seats, and second, either directly or indirectly (through signaling to other donors) generate sufficient new resources to affect the election outcome. Analyses of Bill Clinton’s extensive fund-raising efforts during the 1999–2000 election cycle confirm that presidents can indeed use their unmatched fund-raising ability to help their parties win congressional contests they might otherwise lose. But analysis of the Clinton record also shows that presidential fund-raising activities may be shaped by other purposes that lead to a distribution of effort that is suboptimal for the party.


Frances E. Lee

Bicameralism and Geographic Politics: Allocating Funds in the House and Senate

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 185-213

Because they represent different kinds of constituencies—states versus parts of states—senators and House members have different incentives in constructing federal distributive programs. In order to claim credit for providing particularized benefits, House members need to use policy tools—earmarks and narrow categorical programs—that target funds to their constituencies. Senators, by contrast, are able to claim credit for the large formula grants that distribute the bulk of intergovernmental grant money. Examining House-Senate interactions in one of the largest distributive programs, federal aid to states for surface transportation, I show that the different bases of representation in the House and Senate structure the chambers’ preferences on distributive programs and affect the outcomes of interchamber conflicts.


Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer and Renato Corbetta

Gender Turnover and Roll-Call Voting in the U.S. House of Representatives

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 215-29  

A number of studies suggest that the gender of a legislator affects his or her congressional ideology. We argue that these studies may have produced misleading results because of insufficient controls for constituency influences. To better account for constituency effects, we use a longitudinal research design based on electoral turnover, which holds constituency constant while allowing gender and party to vary. We apply ordinary least squares regression to data from the 103d, 104th, and 105th Houses of Representatives and estimate the effect of gender turnover on changes in DW-NOMINATE roll-call voting scores. We find that, when we sufficiently control for both party and constituency influences, gender is not a determinant of the liberalness of a representative’s roll-call voting behavior.



Lisa Baldez

Elected Bodies: The Gender Quota Law for Legislative Candidates in Mexico

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 231-58

In the past decade, 21 countries have adopted gender quota laws that require between 20% and 50% of all legislative candidates to be women. What explains the adoption of these laws? I argue that three factors make politicians more likely to adopt gender quota laws. First, electoral uncertainty creates an opportunity for internal party reform that factions within a party can exploit to their advantage. Second, the courts play an important role because of the centrality of the issue of equal protection under the law to gender quotas. Finally, cross-partisan mobilization among female legislators raises the costs of opposing such legislation by drawing public attention to it. I examine these three claims with regard to Mexico, where the federal congress passed a 30% gender quota law in 2002.


Scott W. Desposato

The Impact of Federalism on National Party Cohesion in Brazil

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 259-85  

This article explores the impact of federalism on national party cohesion. Although credited with increasing economic growth and managing conflict in countries with diverse electorates, federal forms of government have also been blamed for weak party systems because national coalitions may be divided by interstate conflicts. This latter notion has been widely asserted, but there is virtually no empirical evidence of the relationship or even an effort to isolate and identify the specific features of federal systems that might weaken parties. In this article, I build and test a model of federal effects in national legislatures. I apply my framework to Brazil, whose weak party system is attributed, in part, to that country’s federal form of government. I find that federalism does significantly reduce party cohesion and that this effect can be tied to multiple state-level interests but that state-level actors’ impact on national party cohesion is surprisingly small.


Michael C. Herron and Brett A. Theodos

Government Redistribution in the Shadow of Legislative Elections: A Study of the Illinois Member Initiative Grants Program

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 287-311  

We study an Illinois state government program called “member initiative spending” and examine the extent to which three competing theories can explain the program’s allocations among Illinois’s 118 House districts. We show that member initiative monies distributed before the 2000 general election were disproportionately allocated to districts that were politically competitive, represented by legislative leaders, or represented by moderate legislators. Our analysis supports theories that claim budgetary decisions made by elected officials are tactical, and it shows that the Illinois decision makers who allocated member initiative funds sought to distribute them in a way that would be most beneficial in the sense of vote buying.


Volume XXIX, Number 3

August 2004


Editor's Introduction



Multicountry Studies of Latin American Legislatures: A Review Article

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:329-56


Books Reviewed:

Electoral Laws and the Survival of Presidential Democracies. By Mark P. Jones. (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1995. Pp. 246).

Legislative Politics in Latin America. Edited by Scott Morgenstern and Benito Nacif. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Pp. 503).

Partidos Políticos de América Latina: Centroamérica, Mexico, y República Dominicana. By Manuel Alcántara Sáez and Flavia Friedenberg. (Salamanca, Spain: Biblioteca de América, 2001. Pp. 776).

Partidos Políticos de América Latina: Cono Sur. By Manuel Alcántara Sáez and Flavia Friedenberg. (Salamanca, Spain: Biblioteca de América, 2001. Pp. 628).

Partidos Políticos de América Latina: Paises Andinos. By Manuel Alcántara Sáez and Flavia Friedenberg. (Salamanca, Spain: Biblioteca de América, 2001. Pp. 680).

Patterns of Legislative Politics: Roll Call Voting in Latin America and the U.S. By Scott Morgenstern. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pp. 224).

Politicians and Economic Reform in New Democracies. By Kent Eaton. (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2002. Pp. 351).

Presidentialism and Democracy in Latin America. Edited by Scott Mainwaring and Matthew Soberg Shugart. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Pp. 493).

Term Limits and Legislative Representation. By John M. Carey. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Pp. 216).


Gary F. Moncrief, Richard G. NiemI, and Lynda W. Powell

Time, Term Limits, and Turnover: Trends in Membership Stability in U.S. State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 357-81

Increases in legislative professionalization along with the implementation of term limits in about one-third of the American states raise significant questions about the path of state house and senate turnover. We first update turnover figures for all states, by chamber, from the mid-1980s through 2002. We then compare turnover rates in states with and without term limits. We find that turnover rates, overall, continued to decline through the 1980s but that the long downward trend abated in the 1990s as a result of term limits. The effects of term limits vary depending on the length of the term limit and the opportunity structure in the state. There is also a strong relationship between the presence of term limits and interchamber movement. In addition to term limits, professionalization levels, redistricting, the presence of multimember districts, and partisan swings explain differences in turnover rates between states.


Christopher Reenock and Sarah Poggione

Agency Design as an Ongoing Tool of Bureaucratic Influence

Legislative Studies Quarterly  XXIX: 383-406

Theoretical work assumes that legislators use ex ante design to gain bureaucratic influence, not only at an agency’s appointment stage but also as an ongoing tactic. Yet no empirical work has investigated whether or not legislators prefer to use design to exert influence after an agency’s appointment stage. Using a mail survey of more than 2,500 legislators, we model legislators’ preferences for ex ante design as a function of both institutional factors and individual legislators’ characteristics. Our results suggest that the feasibility of agency design as an ongoing tactic of bureaucratic influence is more limited than theoretical work indicates and that both institutional and individual-level factors explain legislators’ preferences.



Party Caucuses and Coordination: Assessing Caucus Activity and Party Effects

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX: 407-30

Party caucuses are increasingly important to members’ allocation of time. This article reports findings from new data on the minutes, frequency, timing, and attendance of House party caucus meetings. I argue that the party caucuses increasingly affect political and policy information flows to members. This growing party coordination has resulted in a greater bonding and shared strategic information among rank-and-file copartisans. This research also contributes to the party effects literature. Earlier research on congressional partisanship has used roll-call data to measure both member preferences and party effects. I investigate whether or not members’ attendance at party caucus meetings immediately prior to key congressional votes imposes partisan cohesion beyond members’ preferences. The results indicate that party coordination contributes to greater congressional party unity on key floor votes at both the bill and member level controlling for members’ ideological preferences. This party coordination effect occurs even during a period of high intraparty preference homogeneity.


J. Tobin Grant and Thomas J. Rudolph

The Job of Representation in Congress: Public Expectations and Representative Approval

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX: 431-45

Few concepts are more central to democratic theory than that of ­representation. Theories of representation are commonly premised on the belief that citizens’ expectations of their representative are politically consequential, yet we know little about the nature of these expectations and precisely how they matter. Using individual-level data from a recent national survey, we investigate the influence of constituents’ job expectations on their approval of their representative in Congress. We find that citizens’ job expectations condition the effects of members’ legislative activities on their job approval.


Mi Yung Yoon

Explaining Women's Legislative Representation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX: 447-68

This study examines the relative impacts of social, economic, cultural, and political determinants on women’s legislative representation in sub-Saharan Africa by using an ordinary least squares multiple regression model. Under study are sub-Saharan African countries that held democratic legislative elections between January 1990 and June 30, 2001. Only the latest election in each country is included for analysis. My study finds that patriarchal culture, proportional representation systems, and gender quotas are statistically significant. This study, by focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, fills a gap in the extant literature, which has focused on women’s legislative representation in advanced industrialized democracies.


Volume XXIX, Number 4

November 2004


Editor's Introduction


Stephen Ansolabehere and James M. Snyder, Jr.  

Using Term Limits to Estimate Incumbency Advantages When Officeholders Retire Strategically Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:487-515

Empirical study of U.S. elections over the last 50 years has documented a strong electoral advantage to incumbency in state and federal elections. Recently, however, critics have argued that traditional estimates of the incumbency advantage may overstate the advantage by as much as 100% because the estimates fail to consider strategic retirements. This article directly examines whether or not strategic retirement biases conventional regression estimates of incumbency advantages. We use term limits in state executive and legislative elections as instrumental variables to correct for strategic retirement. We find that, as an empirical matter, strategic retirement is not substantively important. Estimates of incumbency advantages that take account of strategic retirement actually are marginally larger than estimates that do not.


H.W. Jerome Maddox

Opportunity Costs and Outside Careers in U.S. State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:517-44

Cost-benefit models of career choice predict that potential legislators choose legislative careers when they expect greater utility from legislative service than from other options. In state legislatures, the utility of legislative service includes the monetary value of outside careers. I hypothesize that legislators are more likely to pursue outside careers when financial opportunity costs are higher or when they derive less non-monetary value from legislative service. In particular, I posit that individual characteristics that predict labor market value (such as age, education, race, and sex) and legislative salary predict outside careers. I test this model employing a new dataset of individual outside-career activity derived from financial disclosure reports. The findings strongly support the hypothesis that outside-career behavior is a function of the financial opportunity costs of legislative service. In addition, I find that Republicans are more likely to hold outside careers than are Democrats. This research has important implications for the study of state legislative participation, legislative organization, and the Democratic bias hypothesis.


Timothy P. Nokken and Keith T. Poole

Congressional Party Defection in American History

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:545-68

In this paper, we analyze the roll-call voting behavior of House and Senate members who changed party affiliation during the course of their political careers. We analyze members who switched during the stable periods of the three major two-party systems in American history: the Federalist-Jeffersonian Republican system (3d to 12th Congresses), the Democratic-Whig System (20th to 30th Congresses), and the Democratic-Republican System (46th to 106th Congresses). Our primary findings are that the biggest changes in the roll-call voting behavior of party defectors can be observed during periods of high ideological polarization and that party defections during the past 30 years are distinct from switches in other eras because of high polarization and the disappearance of a second dimension of ideological conflict.


Barry C. Burden and Tammy M. Frisby

Preferences, Partisanship, and Whip Activity in the U.S. House of Representatives

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:569-90

Using Democratic whip counts from the 92d House, we compare representatives’ stated intentions to their actual roll-call votes to detect evidence of party pressure. After arguing that this strategy understates real party influence, we nonetheless point to evidence of member conversion by party leaders. On 16 bills analyzed, two-thirds of the switches between the count and the vote occur in the direction favored by party leaders. We examine one bill in depth, showing how the efforts of party leaders were consequential to the outcome. The pattern of movement on this bill, along with data from the larger set of bills, provides evidence that leaders act strategically, targeting the members whose persuasion requires the fewest resources.


Rorie L. Spill Solberg and Eric S. Heberlig

Communicating to the Courts and Beyond: Why Members of Congress Participate as Amici Curiae

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:591-610

Members of Congress engage in discretionary behaviors, such as making speeches and cosponsoring bills, which are generally motivated by either electoral needs or policy preferences. We examine a discretionary behavior that engages the judicial branch in the conversation: the participation of members of Congress as amici curiae before the Supreme Court. Amicus curiae briefs provide members of Congress with a direct avenue of communication with the judiciary, and this characteristic suggests that cosigning would be a method of creating good public policy. Using data from the 1980–97 terms of the Supreme Court, however, we find that members of Congress cosign onto amicus curiae briefs as a means of “taking stances,” akin to cosponsoring a bill. The action allows the member to speak indirectly to an audience beyond these governmental institutions. Evidence shows that ideological extremism and committee jurisdiction promote participation as amicus curiae.


Tamir Sheafer and Gadi Wolfsfeld

Production Assets, News Opportunities, and Publicity for Legislators: A Study of Israeli Knesset Members

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIX:611-30 

This study proposes a number of theoretical and methodological innovations in an attempt to better understand how legislators compete for media coverage. We make a distinction between those variables that determine the potential newsworthiness of a legislature (production assets) and those that are related to the political and media environment in which the legislators operate (news opportunities). We then put forth five hypotheses and test them by examining the political standing, charismatic communication skills, and radio exposure of 54 members of the Israeli Knesset. The results confirm that political standing and charismatic communication skills are important predictors of media exposure and that the relative importance of these factors changes during different political seasons.  



Volume XXX, Number 1

February 2005




virginia  a. hettinger and christopher zorn
Explaining the Incidence and Timing of Congressional Responses to the U.S. Supreme Court

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:5-28

Sparked by interest in game-theoretic representations of the separation of powers, empirical work examining congressional overrides of Supreme Court statutory decisions has burgeoned in recent years. Much of this work has been hampered, however, by the relative rarity of such events; as has long been noted, congressional attention to the Court is limited, and most Court decisions represent the last word on statutory interpretation. With this fact foremost in our minds, we examine empirically a number of theories regarding such reversals. By adopting an approach that allows us to separate the factors that lead to the event itself (that is, the presence or absence of an override in a particular case) from those that influence the timing of the event, we find that case-specific factors are an important influence in the incidence of overrides, whereas Congress- and Court-specific political influences dominate the timing at which those overrides occur. By separating the incidence and timing of overrides, our study yields a more accurate and nuanced understanding of this aspect of the separation-of-powers system.


james r. rogers
Empirical Determinants of Bicameral Sequence in State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:29-42

In a previous article (Rogers 1998), I showed that the bicameral chamber that originates enacted legislation tends to realize policy outcomes closer to the preference of its median legislator than does the chamber that votes second on legislation. All things being equal, this “first-mover advantage” implies that each chamber could be expected to originate roughly half of all enacted legislation. But all other things are not equal in U.S. state bicameral legislatures. Drawing on an expanded dataset, I innovate and test a number of additional hypotheses related to bicameral voting sequence. My results account for the effects of constitutional, institutional, and electoral variables on bicameral sequence.


nathan f. batto
Electoral Strategy, Committee Membership, and Rent Seeking in the Taiwanese Legislature, 1992–2001

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:43-62

While the electoral system undoubtedly influences legislative behavior, it does not necessarily have a uniform effect on all legislators. In this article, I argue that the different strategies that candidates choose in the quest for office result in differing incentives once the candidates have been elected. In the Taiwanese context, candidates who adopt a campaign strategy based on organization will tend to engage in more rent-seeking activities once in the legislature, in order to offset the heavy financial burden of this strategy. From 1992 to 2001, Taiwanese legislators whose votes were highly concentrated in a small number of precincts tended to serve significantly more time on committees with the most rent-seeking opportunities than did legislators with far less concentrated support. Legislators whose votes were spread more evenly across the entire electoral district and legislators elected from the party lists tended to serve more time on committees with little rent-seeking potential.


david c. kimball
Priming Partisan Evaluations of Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:63-84

Congress has been the scene of increasingly partisan and ideologically polarized conflict in recent years. I examine the extent to which the national political climate mutes or amplifies the effect of partisanship on evaluations of Congress. Using data from the National Election Studies and a content analysis of national media coverage, I find that public evaluations of Congress divide most sharply along party lines when elite-level discourse is most partisan (as during an election season or a highly charged partisan debate in Congress). This finding is consistent with an opinion leadership or priming hypothesis of public opinion. In addition, the most knowledgeable citizens are most likely to be primed by the partisan political climate in Washington . In contrast, less attentive citizens tend to rely on nonpartisan cues when evaluating Congress. I discuss the implications of these findings for public opinion and improving the public standing of Congress in an increasingly partisan climate.


william t. bianco
ast Post for “The Greatest Generation”: The Policy Implications of the Decline of Military Experience in the U.S. Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:85-102

This paper characterizes the behavioral and policy implications of the decline in the number of military veterans in the U.S. Congress, from more than 70% of legislators in the early 1970s to less than 30% in the contemporary House and Senate. Many scholars argue that military service shapes information and beliefs, and that this decline has had negative effects on defense policy. The analysis tests these arguments using voting data from the House and Senate in the 1990s and the House in the 1970s, showing that the impact of veteran status on votes is generally small and has a relatively minor effect on legislative outcomes.


scott r. meinke
Long-Term Change and Stability in House Voting Decisions: The Case of the Minimum Wage

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:103-126

Although members of Congress exhibit considerable stability in their voting decisions on similar, recurring issues, members’ long-term voting histories reveal evidence of systematic instability as well. I argue that members reverse positions in predictable ways when the vote history loses value as a decision cue, and I present empirical evidence for this behavior in the context of the highly salient and regularly repeated House decisions on increasing the federal minimum wage. The empirical findings suggest that reversals of member positions are related to institutional, electoral, and constituency factors. I conclude by discussing the importance of these findings to understanding congressional decision making and representation.


douglas b. harris
Orchestrating Party Talk: A Party-Based View of One-Minute Speeches in the House of Representatives

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:127-141

Previous studies of House members’ speech-giving behavior treat the behavior as a product of members’ individual goals. By uncovering leadership memoranda soliciting member participation in one-minute speech giving, I find, first, that parties significantly structure one-minute speech giving, with party-orchestrated message campaigns accounting for about one-third of the speeches given. Second, I find that a party-based explanation illuminates individual members’ speech-giving behavior. Ideological proximity to the party leadership and party organizational factors strongly influence a member’s willingness to be “on message.” These findings have important implications for studies of both party message politics and members’ speech-giving behavior.  


Volume XXX, Number 2

May 2005





Peculiar Institutions: Slavery, Sectionalism, and Minority Obstruction in the Antebellum Senate

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:163-91

This article examines obstruction in the U.S. Senate, focusing on political conflict in the antebellum period. I consider different theories that predict when obstruction should occur and conduct individual-level analysis of the use of and support for dilatory tactics. The analysis investigates how the costs of obstruction, the probability that obstruction succeeds, the policy preferences of the senator, and the salience of legislation relate to decisions to obstruct. I find that both sectional and partisan factors influence obstruction, with the former being especially important for legislation related to slavery. In particular, Southern senators’ concerns about being in the minority led them to obstruct to protect their interests in slavery.


Tonja Jacobi

The Senatorial Courtesy Game: Explaining the Norm of Informal Vetoes in Advice and Consent Nominations

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:193-217

Despite the contentiousness of advice and consent nominations, the Senate usually rejects a candidate to whom a home senator objects. Using game theory, this article explains the persistence of senatorial courtesy and maps its effects on which candidates succeed. The greater salience of a home nomination allows retaliation and reciprocity in a repeated game to elicit support for a veto, even under adverse conditions. Comparative statics indicate the range of the president’s feasible nominees and show which players gain and lose from the practice. Most notably, the president can benefit from an exercise of senatorial courtesy.


Jason M. Roberts

Minority Rights and Majority Power: Conditional Party Government and the Motion to Recommit in the House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:219-34

Students of legislative politics have struggled to explain and measure party influence on voting and outcomes in Congress. Proponents of strong party effects point to the numerous procedural advantages enjoyed by the majority party as evidence of party effects, yet recent theoretical work by Krehbiel and Meirowitz (2002) argues that House rules guaranteeing the minority a motion to recommit with instructions effectively balances the procedural advantages enjoyed by the majority. This article identifies and tests the empirical implications of the Krehbiel and Meirowitz theory, using roll-call data from the 61st to 107th Congresses (1909–2002). The results call into question the validity of Krehbiel and Meirowitz’s conclusions about party government in the House and provide support for the theory of conditional party government.


Monika L. McDermott and David R. Jones

Congressional Performance, Incumbent Behavior, and Voting in Senate Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:235-57

Conventional wisdom suggests that individual members of Congress have no real incentive to act in ways that might improve public evaluations of their collective body. In particular, the literature provides no clear evidence that public evaluations of Congress affect individual races for Congress, and little reason to expect that voters would hold specific individuals responsible for the institution’s performance. We suggest that this conventional wisdom is incorrect. Using multiple state-level exit polls of Senate voting conducted by Voter News Service in 1996 and 1998, we arrive at two key findings. First, we find that evaluations of Congress do have a significant effect on voting within individual U.S. Senate races across a wide variety of electoral contexts. Second, we find that punishments or rewards for congressional performance are not distributed equally across all members, or even across members of a particular party. Instead, we find that the degree to which citizens hold a senator accountable for congressional performance is significantly influenced by that senator’s actual level of support for the majority party in Congress, as demonstrated on party votes.


Robert G. Moser and Ethan Scheiner

Strategic Ticket Splitting and the Personal Vote in Mixed-Member Electoral Systems

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:259-76

This article examines ticket splitting in five different mixed-member electoral systems—Germany, New Zealand, Japan, Lithuania, and Russia—and indicates the shortcomings inherent in any analysis of such ticket splitting that does not take into account the presence of the personal vote. We find that the personal vote plays a central part in shaping ticket splitting in all of our cases except for Germany , a heavily party-oriented system in which we find evidence of only a weak personal vote but evidence of substantial strategic voting.


Cherie D. Maestas, L. Sandy Maisel, and Walter J. Stone

National Party Efforts to Recruit State Legislators to Run for the U.S. House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:277-300

We explore factors that influence the chances that a state legislator will be the target of national party recruitment to run for the U.S. House. Using data from a sample of legislators in 200 U.S. House districts, we find that national party contact reflects strategic considerations of party interests. State legislators serving in professional institutions and in competitive districts are most likely to be contacted by national party leaders. In addition, the analysis suggests that national party leaders may be sensitive to the potential costs to the state legislative party: legislators in institutions that are closely balanced between the parties are slightly less likely to be contacted.


Andrew Reynolds

Reserved Seats in National Legislatures: A Research Note

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:301-10

As competitive democracy is crafted in ethnically plural and postconflict nation-states, the question of whether or not to reserve legislative seats for communal groups—ethnic, national, or religious—is increasingly a topic of debate. This research note provides an overview of targeted electoral mechanisms designed to ensure the inclusion in national parliaments of representatives of ethnic, racial, national, or religious communities. The data show that the existence of reserved seats in national legislatures for such groups is much more widespread, and less idiosyncratic, than many scholars previously thought. This finding, along with current discussions in high-profile cases of constitutional design, suggests that the occurrence and impact of reserved seats should be analyzed in greater detail.


Volume XXX, Number 3

August 2005




Christopher Kam and Indriði Indriðason

The Timing of Cabinet Reshuffles in Five Westminster Parliamentary Systems

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:327-63  

Despite their political prominence, cabinet reshuffles have not attracted a great deal of scholarly attention. We provide a theory of cabinet reshuffles that emphasizes both systematic and time-varying causes. In particular, we argue that prime ministers employ cabinet reshuffles to retain power in the face of both intraparty and electoral challenges to their leadership. We use repeated-events duration models to examine the timing of cabinet reshuffles in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in the period 1960–2001, and find support for several of our hypotheses.


Jeffery A. Jenkins, Michael H. Crespin, and Jamie L. Carson

Parties as Procedural Coalitions in Congress: An Examination of Differing Career Tracks

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:365-89

We examine the degree to which parties act as procedural coalitions in Congress by testing predictions from the party cartel theory (Cox and McCubbins 1993, 1994, 2002). We gain leverage on the question of party influence in Congress by focusing on three types of House members: reelection seekers, higher-office seekers, and retiring members. We argue that retiring House members are no longer susceptible to party pressure, making them the perfect means (when compared to higher-office seekers and reelection seekers) to determine the existence of party influence. Results from a pooled, cross-sectional analysis of the 94th through 105th Congresses (1975–98) suggest that party influence is indeed present in Congress, especially where the party cartel theory predicts: on procedural, rather than final-passage, votes. Moreover, we find that procedural party influence is almost exclusively the domain of the majority party. This latter finding is especially important because most prior studies have been limited to investigating interparty influence only.


Antoine Yoshinaka

House Party Switchers and Committee Assignments: Who Gets “What, When, How?”

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:391-406

What are the political consequences for members of Congress who switch parties? Roll-call and electoral consequences of congressional party switching have been studied, but other implications of party defections have yet to be systematically explored. In this article, I examine the committee assignments of House party switchers and argue that party leaders seek to reward members of the opposing party who join their ranks. Using committee assignment data from the 94th House (1975–76) through the 107th House (2001–02), I show that party switchers are more likely than nonswitchers to be the beneficiaries of violations of the seniority norm. The findings from this article are of interest to students of political parties and legislative institutions, and fill a gap in the literature on party switching.


Michele L. Swers

Connecting Descriptive and Substantive Representation: An Analysis of Sex Differences in Cosponsorship Activity

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:407-33

Women-and-politics research emphasizes the importance of social identity as a determinant of legislative behavior, yet congressional scholars largely ignore identity and focus on the impact of constituency, party, and institutional factors. To examine the link between descriptive and substantive representation, I utilize an original database of cosponsorship activity in the 103d and 104th Congresses that encompasses five social welfare issues that reflect the gender gap in the mass public. I find that the policy preferences of elites do reflect gender differences in the mass public and voter expectations concerning the policy expertise of women candidates. These differences are constrained by changes in the political and institutional contexts since women increase their activity on social welfare issues when they gain access to strategic positions of power, particularly majority party status, to a greater extent than do similarly situated men.


Jeffrey Lazarus

Unintended Consequences: Anticipation of General Election Outcomes And Primary Election Divisiveness 

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:435-61

This article offers the first theory to explain the relationship between primary election divisiveness and general election outcomes that is grounded in candidates’ own behavior. Conventional wisdom holds that divisive primaries cause candidates to do poorly in general elections. I show that primary divisiveness does not cause this or any other pattern of general election results. Rather, expectations about general election results cause primaries to be divisive. Non-incumbents enter races they think they can win, and they think they can win where the incumbent is vulnerable. More candidates enter those races than others, splitting the vote among them. This stampede creates divisive primaries in which incumbents are most likely to do poorly, and challengers well, in the general elections. As a result, divisiveness is associated with (but does not cause) better general election performances among challengers and worse performances among incumbents. In this manner, primary divisiveness is an unintended consequence of behavior directed towards the goal of winning the general election. I tested these propositions using data from major-party House primaries between 1976 and 1998 and found that (a) candidate expectations of victory determine when and where divisive primary elections occur, (b) those expectations drive the correlation between primary divisiveness and general election results, and (c) primary divisiveness correlates with incumbents doing poorly, and challengers well, in general elections.  


Volume XXX, Number 4

November 2005


Keith Krehbiel and Alan E. Wiseman

Joe Cannon and the Minority Party: Tyranny or Bipartisanship?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:479-505

The minority party is rarely featured in empirical research on parties in legislatures, and recent theories of parties in legislatures are rarely neutral and balanced in their treatment of the minority and majority parties. This article makes a case for redressing this imbalance. We identified four characteristics of bipartisanship and evaluated their descriptive merits in a purposely hostile testing ground: during the rise and fall of Speaker Joseph G. Cannon, “the Tyrant from Illinois .” Drawing on century-old recently discovered records now available in the National Archives, we found that Cannon was anything but a majority-party tyrant during the important committee assignment phase of legislative organization. Our findings underscore the need for future, more explicitly theoretical research on parties-in-legislatures.


Rudy B. Andeweg and Jacques J.A. Thomassen

Modes of Political Representation: Toward a New Typology       

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:507-28

The mandate-independence controversy still features prominently in studies of political representation even though the problems with its theoretical foundation and empirical operationalization have long been recognized. This article proposes an alternative typology of modes of representation. By combining type of control (ex ante or ex post) with direction of the interactions (bottom-up or top-down), our study captures the most important aspects of the relationship between voters and representatives. We demonstrate how the typology can be used in a survey instrument by comparing the attitudes toward representation of Dutch members of Parliament with the attitudes held by voters, and by relating the views of the members to their behavior.


James R. Druckman, Lanny W. Martin, and Michael F. Thies

Influence without Confidence: Upper Chambers and Government Formation
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:529-48

In most parliamentary democracies, governments must maintain the confidence of a single legislative chamber only. But in bicameral parliaments, upper chambers can affect the fortunes of government policy proposals. Recent work shows that parliamentary governments that lack control over the upper house also tend to collapse sooner than those with upper-house majorities. In this article, we show that coalition builders anticipate the importance of upper-chamber status (majority or minority) in making their formation decisions. After controlling for a host of “usual suspect” variables concerning the institutional, ideological, and partisan context of coalition building, and examining 15,590 potential governments in 129 bargaining situations, we found that potential coalitions that control upper-house majorities are significantly more likely to form than are those with upper-house minorities. Our findings are important for students of bicameralism, government formation, institutions, and, perhaps most significantly, for those who study policymaking in parliamentary democracies.


Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Peter M. Radcliffe, and Brandon L. Bartels

The Incidence and Timing of PAC Contributions to Incumbent U.S. House Members, 1993–94
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:549-79

In this article, we discuss how donor and recipient characteristics affected the incidence and timing of political action committee (PAC) contributions to incumbent members of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 1993–94 election cycle. We contribute to the campaign finance literature by modeling the timing of contributions, which is important because timing affects the perception of political actors about the competitiveness of elections and the loci of power among members of Congress, interest groups, and between members of Congress and interest groups. Split-population event history models allow us to compare and contrast determinants of whether and when contributions are made across various types and sizes of PACs.


Jennifer L. Lawless and Sean M. Theriault

Will She Stay or Will She Go? Career Ceilings and Women's Retirement from the U.S. Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:581-96

This article offers the first broad-based, systematic, times-series assessment of the gender dynamics underlying congressional retirement. We extend the body of work on gender and representation by using the congressional retirement literature to develop an argument that accounts for the gender gap in the average length of congressional service. Our results indicate that women are less willing than men to remain in Congress when their ability to influence the legislative agenda stalls. Because of women’s relatively early departures from the House of Representatives, our analysis suggests that prospects for women’s representation are less promising than the conventional wisdom suggests.


Eric S. Heberlig and Bruce A. Larson

Redistributing Campaign Funds by U.S. House Members: The Spiraling Costs of the Permanent Campaign
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXX:597-624

In this article, we document and analyze the increase in the redistribution of campaign funds by U.S. House members during the 1990 through 2000 election cycles. By examining the contribution activity of members’ leadership PACs and principal campaign committees, we show that House incumbents substantially increased their contributions to other House candidates and to the congressional campaign committees. The amount of money a member redistributes is a function of that member’s institutional position: the greater the position’s level of responsibility to the party caucus, the more campaign money the member redistributes, particularly as competition for majority control increases. Also, a member’s capacity to raise surplus campaign funds, his or her support for the party’s policy positions, and the level of competition for partisan control of the institution all affect the amount the member redistributes.  



Volume XXXI, Number 1

February 2006




Thomas F. Remington

Presidential Support in the Russian State Duma

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 5–32

Recent comparative research on presidential systems has analyzed the ways in which presidents build majorities for their legislative agendas. Through an analysis of roll-call votes from the 2000–03 Russian State Duma on a set of issues reflecting President Putin’s legislative agenda, I examine the impact of parliamentary party affiliation, policy preferences, issue type, and electoral mandate type on structuring floor support for the president. I also assess the implications of a mixed electoral system for building legislative coalitions in multiparty legislatures. Further, my findings shed light on Putin’s recent reforms of the Duma’s rules and procedures and the country’s electoral system.


Eric D. Lawrence, Forrest Maltzman, Steven S. Smith

Who Wins? Party Effects in Legislative Voting

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 33–70

Political scientists have long attempted to measure and describe the modest and contingent effects of party on the behavior of members of Congress. Recent efforts have extended the debate to the more specific question of whether or not party influences are sufficiently strong to move policy outcomes away from the median position. In this article, we specify four theories of legislative behavior. One is a preference-based, or partyless, theory of behavior. This theory posits that there are no party effects independent of preferences and that equilibrium outcomes are located at the chamber’s median. The other theories rely on different conceptions of the foundations of party effects and yield distinctive predictions about the legislators who will support bills on final passage votes. After testing, our conclusion is that strong party influences can be found in final passage voting in the House: the partyless theory receives little support, but a model based on majority party agenda control works well. Legislative outcomes are routinely on the majority party’s side of the chamber median.


Craig Volden and Elizabeth Bergman

How Strong Should Our Party Be? Party Member Preferences Over Party Cohesion

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 71–104

In this article, we seek to explain when and why political parties pressure their members to vote with the party. We model party cohesion as an endogenous choice of preference alignment by party members. Couched in Krehbiel’s (1996, 1998) pivotal politics model, the formal theory advanced here shows party cohesion to be related to the initial preference alignment of party members, the divergence in preferences between parties, the cohesion of the opposing party, the party’s size, and the party’s majority or minority status. We solved the model analytically for generalized-partial equilibrium results and further analyzed it through computer simulations. We tested the model’s predictions in the U.S. Senate using Rice party cohesion scores from the 46th through 104th Congresses. The data analyses show strong support for this theory of endogenous choice of party pressure.


John M. Carey, Richard G. NiemI,  Lynda W. PowelL, and Gary F. Moncrief

The Effects of Term Limits on State Legislatures: A New Survey of the 50 States

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 105–34

Term limits on legislators were adopted in 21 states during the early 1990s. Beginning in 1996, the limits legally barred incumbents from reelection in 11 states, and they will do so in four more by 2010. In 2002, we conducted the only survey of legislators in all 50 states aimed at assessing the impact of term limits on state legislative representation. We found that term limits have virtually no effect on the types of people elected to office—whether measured by a range of demographic characteristics or by ideological predisposition—but they do have measurable impact on certain behaviors and priorities reported by legislators in the survey, and on the balance of power among various institutional actors in the arena of state politics. We characterize the biggest impact on behavior and priorities as a “Burkean shift,” whereby term-limited legislators become less beholden to the constituents in their geographical districts and more attentive to other concerns. The reform also increases the power of the executive branch (governors and the bureaucracy) over legislative outcomes and weakens the influence of majority party leaders and committee chairs, albeit for different reasons.


Volume XXXI, Number 2

May 2006




Royce Carroll, Gary W. Cox , and Mónica Pachón
How Parties Create Electoral Democracy, Chapter 2
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 153-74

Parties neither cease to exist nor cease to compete for office when the general election is over. Instead, a new round of competition begins, with legislators as voters and party leaders as candidates. The offices at stake are what we call “mega-seats.” We consider the selection of three different types of mega-seats—cabinet portfolios, seats on directing boards, and permanent committee chairs—in 57 democratic assemblies. If winning parties select the rules by which mega-seats are chosen and those rules affect which parties can attain mega-seats (one important payoff of “winning”), then parties and rules should coevolve in the long run. We find two main patterns relating to legislative party systems and a country’s length of experience with democratic governance.


Rob Salmond
Proportional Representation and Female Parliamentarians
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 175-204

This article asks, “What effect does the choice of a nation’s electoral system have on the gender composition of its parliament over time?” I find that the electoral system has an important part to play, but previous work has overstated, by factors of between two and three, how much of a difference an electoral system can make. This article contributes an updated nonlinear theory of female representation, an improved dataset on women’s representation across space and time, and more modern statistical techniques than previously used in research on this question.


Nancy Martorano
Balancing Power: Committee System Autonomy and Legislative Organization
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 205-34

The most recent explanations for the existence of committee systems in legislative chambers have posited that committees are the agents of one of three very different principal actors: (1) individual members (distributive theory), (2) the full chamber (informational theory), or (3) the major political party (partisan theory). In addition to defining and operationalizing the concept of institutional committee system autonomy, I put forth and test several hypotheses linking these three explanations to committee system autonomy. In the end, the results show empirical support for the informational theory over the distributive and partisan theories.


Shannon Jenkins

The Impact of Party and Ideology on Roll-Call Voting in State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 235-57

To assess the relative impact of party and ideology on legislative behavior, I utilize survey-based measures of legislator ideology to examine voting in five state legislatures. The results suggest that, although party and ideology both influence voting, the impact of party is greater. The magnitude of this impact varies, however, from chamber to chamber. The activity of parties in the electoral arena explains part of this variance, with more active parties having more influence. Thus, research on legislative behavior should focus on the context surrounding the decision-making process in order for us to understand the influences on voting.


D. E. Apollonio and Raymond J. La Raja

Term Limits, Campaign Contributions, and the Distribution of Power in State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 259-81

Using campaign contributions to legislators as an indicator of member influence, we explore the impact of term limits on the distribution of power within state legislatures. Specifically, we perform a cross-state comparison of the relative influence of party caucus leaders, committee chairs, and rank-and-file legislators before and after term limits. The results indicate that term limits diffuse power in state legislatures, both by decreasing average contributions to incumbents and by reducing the power of party caucus leaders relative to other members. The change in contribution levels across legislators in different chambers implies a shift in power to the upper chamber in states with term limits. Thus, the impact of term limits may be attenuated in a bicameral system.



Judicial Procedures as Instruments of Political Control: Congress’s Strategic Use of Citizen Suits
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 283-305

Citizen suit provisions, which give proregulatory interests access to the federal courts, can be used by Congress to increase the courts’ role in regulatory policy. I analyze 284 environmental regulation bills reported favorably out of committee and show that committee support for citizen suits is a function of the committee’s policy goals and the political context in which the bills are generated. These findings indicate that Congress deliberately uses judicial procedures as instruments of political control and that scholars examining judicial policymaking must include legislative goals in the list of explanatory factors.  


Volume XXXI, Number 3

August 2006



Andrew J. Taylor

Size, Power, and Electoral Systems: Exogenous Determinants of Legislative Procedural Choice

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 323-45

I tested hypotheses about the relationship between exogenous institutions and legislative procedural choice using a unique cross-sectional approach and a dataset gleaned from 55 legislative bodies from around the world. I focused on three entrenched characteristics of legislative bodies that we have theoretical reason to think will shape procedures: size, the relative power of the chamber, and the method by which its members are selected. Relatively small and powerful bodies generally have decentralized procedures. To a lesser extent, we can say the same of chambers that have electoral systems that incentivize the personal vote.


Gerard Padró i Miquel and James M. Snyder, Jr

Legislative Effectiveness and Legislative Careers

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 347-81  

We studied an underutilized source of data on legislative effectiveness and exploited its panel structure to uncover several interesting patterns. We found that effectiveness rises sharply with tenure, at least for the first few terms, even when we control for legislators’ institutional positions, party affiliation, and other factors. Effectiveness never declines with tenure, even out to nine terms. The increase in effectiveness is not simply due to electoral attrition and selective retirement, but to learning-by-doing. We also found evidence that a significant amount of “positive sorting” occurs in the legislature, with highly talented legislators moving more quickly into positions of responsibility and power. Finally, effectiveness has a positive impact on incumbents’ electoral success and on the probability of legislators moving to higher office. These findings have important implications for arguments about term limits, the incumbency advantage, and seniority rule.


Michael C. Herron and Kenneth W. Shotts

Term Limits and Pork

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 383-403

We describe a model of electoral selection and legislative policy choice that explores the effects of term limits on legislative spending. In the model, self-interested voters in a collection of districts prefer representatives who deliver pork over representatives who maximize aggregate social welfare. Term limits can, in some cases, inhibit voters from selecting representatives who deliver particularistic ­benefits, and, in these cases, term limits reduce pork spending. On the other hand, when pork is extremely socially inefficient, representatives who want to deliver pork to their districts have incentives to refrain from doing so to reduce future pork in other districts. In this scenario, term limits actually prevent legislators from promoting future spending moderation and thus paradoxically increase pork spending.



John D. Griffin

Senate Apportionment as a Source of Political Inequality

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 405-32  

Political scientists have long known that the equal representation of states in the U.S. Senate and the placement of state lines might disadvantage politically relevant groups, granting some citizens greater voting weight in the chamber. Yet we lack systematic, longitudinal evidence that identifies the groups disadvantaged by Senate malapportionment, the sources of this disadvantage, and probes the policy consequences. In this article, I compare each state’s liberalism and racial composition with its relative voting weight in the Senate over time. Additionally, I examine whether roll-call coalitions in the Senate map onto these patterns of state ideology and racial composition.


David Yamane and Elizabeth A. Oldmixon

Religion in the Legislative Arena: Affiliation, Salience, Advocacy, and Public Policymaking 

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 433-60

Religion is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon that informs politics in various ways. This article examines the effects of religious affiliation, religious salience, and religious group advocacy on roll-call voting in the Wisconsin state legislature. Various studies have demonstrated the impact of religious affiliation on legislative politics, but our use of additional religious indicators allows us to model the religious effect in a more accurate and nuanced manner. Using data from an original survey of state legislators, we utilized structural equation modeling to measure the direct and indirect effects of these religious factors on both the general pattern of roll-call voting and voting on a high-salience issue, abortion. Ultimately, the findings indicate that, even when we control for political party affiliation, which is a dominant influence on roll-call voting, conservative Protestant religious affiliation and high religious salience influence legislative voting. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for future studies of religion in the legislative arena.


Volume XXXI, Number 4

November 2006



Stephen Ansolabehere, Erik C. Snowberg, and James M. Snyder, Jr.

Television and the Incumbency Advantage in U.S. Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 469-490

We use the structure of media markets within states and across state boundaries to study the relationship between television and electoral competition. In particular, we compare incumbent vote margins in media markets where content originates in the same state as media consumers versus vote margins where content originates out of state. This contrast provides a clear test of whether or not television coverage correlates with the incumbency advantage. We study U.S. Senate and state gubernatorial races from the 1950s through the 1990s and find that the effect of TV is small, directionally indeterminate, and statistically insignificant.

Appendix B: Detailed Statistical Treatment


Brian F. Schaffner

Local News Coverage and the Incumbency Advantage in the U.S. House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 491-511 

Much of the incumbency advantage in the U.S. House of Representatives is attributed to incumbents’ efforts to address constituents’ needs. Yet House members do not win reelection simply by performing well in office, but also by informing constituents of how well they are doing their jobs. I examined the value of local news coverage for legislators seeking to publicize their legislative work on behalf of constituents. I found that incumbents who win more newspaper coverage are viewed as being more in touch with the district and are more likely to win support from constituents during bids for reelection.elections.


Sarah A. Binder

Parties and Institutional Choice Revisited

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 513-32  

Scholars of institutional change in Congress offer competing theoretical accounts of the accrual of procedural rights by House majority parties. One camp posits that the interests and capacities of political parties drive procedural change that affects agenda control. An alternative perspective offers a nonpartisan, median-voter account. I explore these two accounts, survey challenges involved in testing them, and determine the fit of the accounts to the history of procedural change in the House. I find that no single perspective accounts best for the pattern of rule changes affecting agenda control and that the median-voter model may be time-bound to the twentieth century—after partisan majorities had constructed the core partisan procedural regime of the House.


Anna Harvey and Barry Friedman

Pulling Punches: Congressional Constraints on the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Rulings, 1987–2000

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 533-62

To date, no study has found evidence that the U.S. Supreme Court is constrained by Congress in its constitutional decisions. We addressed the selection bias inherent in previous studies with a statute-centered, rather than a case-centered, analysis, ­following all congressional laws enacted between 1987 and 2000. We uncovered considerable congressional constraint in the Court’s constitutional rulings. In particular, we found that the probability that the Rehnquist Court would strike a liberal congressional law rose between 47% and 288% as a result of the 1994 congressional elections, depending on the legislative model used.


Neil Malhotra

Government Growth and Professionalism in U.S. State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 563-84

This article analyzes the professionalization of American state legislatures since the 1960s and expands on previous studies by considering the strategic incentives of members. Fiorina and Noll’s (1978a, 1978b) theory that reelection-minded legislators serve as “ombudsmen to the bureaucracy” on behalf of their constituents suggests that legislatures have professionalized in response to growth in public spending in order to strengthen members’ abilities to handle increased facilitation duties. I used longitudinal analysis and instrumental variables regression to test this hypothesis and disentangle causal directionality, since professional legislators may have the means and incentive to spend more than their citizen counterparts. Both methods revealed empirical support for the Fiorina and Noll hypothesis that spending increases caused legislators to become more professional.


Neal D. Woods and Michael Baranowski

Legislative Professionalism and Influence on State Agencies: The Effects of Resources and Careerism

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXI: 585-609 

Legislative professionalization typically involves two concomitant processes: increasing institutional resources and increasing careerism among state legislators. These processes, we argue, entail different effects for legislative influence on state administrative agencies. Greater legislative resources serve to increase legislative influence, but greater political careerism among state legislators serves to decrease it. Because these two processes are normally intertwined within the process of legislative professionalization, the net effect of professionalism is uncertain, although our analysis suggests that the negative effect of careerism may outweigh the positive effect of institutional resources. These results have significant implications for the democratic responsiveness of executive branch agencies.


Volume XXXII, Number 1

February 2007




James N. Druckman and Andrew Roberts

Communist Successor Parties and Coalition Formation in Eastern Europe

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 5

One of the most distinctive features of new democracies is the presence of political parties associated with the old, repressive regime. This article investigates whether or not the Eastern European variant of these parties, which we call communist successor parties (CSPs), has affected coalition politics. It finds that CSPs do have significant effects on the dynamics of coalition formation. CSPs are less likely than other parties to be included in governing coalitions; coalitions that include CSPs are more likely to be oversized (that is, to include superfluous parties); and CSPs that make it into government are penalized, insofar as they receive less than their fair share of governing portfolios. We attribute these results to the salience of the regime divide—the affective dislike of many citizens for the legacies of communism. Our results extend research on coalition behavior to Eastern European contexts and show how affective dislike combined with vote-seeking motivations can affect governing behavior.


Scott R. Meinke

Slavery, Partisanship, and Procedure in the U.S. House: The Gag Rule, 1836–1845

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 33

From the 24th through the 28th Congresses, the House of Representatives operated under versions of a “gag rule” that blocked petitions dealing with abolition and related matters. This article presents the gag rule as not only a historically important window into slavery deliberations in Congress but also a case study in majority party restrictions of minority rights—and in the boundaries that constituency politics can place on majority power. Through analysis of vote choices and voting changes over time, I demonstrate that the gag rule’s partisan origins gave way as northern members voted against party and with specific constituency pressures as well as general sectional sentiment. The gag rule shows the power of electoral considerations and constituency in the early U.S. House, and it also illustrates the force that constituency can have over majority procedural maneuvering.


Garry Young and Vicky Wilkins

Vote Switchers and Party Influence in the U.S. House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 59

Party-centered theories of Congress often rely on the critical assumption that some majority party members vote against their preferences when granting their leadership procedural powers, such as closed rules. Such an assumption renders these approaches ad hoc, and thus theoretically dubious, unless firm support for the ­assumption can be found. Firm support is elusive largely because it is difficult to separate party and preference effects. In this article, we produce a simple but critical test of the party persuasion assumption that largely avoids these measurement problems. Specifically, we use a “switcher analysis” (Krehbiel 1998) to compare votes on final passage of the legislation with the votes on the closed rule. Our analysis of all closed rule–final passage vote pairs for the 104th–108th Congresses reveals vote patterns that cannot exist absent significant party effects.


David W. Brady, hahrie han, and jeremy c. pope

Primary Elections and Candidate Ideology: Out of Step with the Primary Electorate?

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 79 

This article draws on a new dataset of House primary- and general-election outcomes (1956–98) to examine the relationship between primary elections and candidate ideology. We show that, like presidential candidates, congressional candidates face a strategic-positioning dilemma: should they align themselves with their general- or primary-election constituencies? Relative to general-election voters, ­primary voters favor more ideologically extreme candidates. We show that congressional candidates handle the dilemma by positioning themselves closer to the ­primary electorate. This article thus supports the idea that primaries pull candidates away from median district preferences.


Donald P. Haider-Markel

Representation and Backlash: The Positive and Negative Influence of Descriptive Representation

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 107

For this article, I built on previous studies of representation by exploring the potential positive and negative impacts of descriptive representation in the policy process. Specifically, I examined the influence of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) state legislators on the amount and types of LGBT-related state legislation introduced from 1992 to 2002. My findings suggest that higher LGBT representation in state legislatures leads to greater substantive representation. The results also suggest, however, that descriptive representation is associated with the amount of anti-LGBT legislation introduced. Additional analysis reveals that the net policy influence of increased LGBT representation is positive for the LGBT ­community.


Jay Goodliffe

Campaign War Chests and Challenger Quality in Senate Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 135 

This article presents the first comprehensive analysis of the role of war chests in U.S. Senate elections. Using data on races from 1980 to 2000, I demonstrate the effect of an incumbent senator’s war chest on a campaign. War chests do not deter strong general-election challengers and have an insubstantial or insignificant effect on primary elections, challenger spending, and other electoral variables. Also, war chests are not raised in anticipation of a tough electoral battle but are instead the result of money left over from the previous campaign.  


Volume XXXII, Number 2

May 2007




Philip Manow and Simone Burkhart

Legislative Self-Restraint under Divided Government in Germany, 1976–2002

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 167

Using the Vanberg (1998) model of legislative autolimitation from the judicial review literature, we investigated the impact of divided government on the strategic choices of government and opposition. The main prediction of the model is that a strong opposition dominance in the second chamber (Bundesrat) usually does not lead to open party-political conflict, but rather to a government’s legislative self-restraint. We tested the hypotheses following from the model on a detailed dataset comprising all legislative bills in Germany between 1976 and 2002. The results show that the main effects of divided government are, in fact, indirect and anticipatory. We conclude that when majorities in the Bundestag and Bundesrat diverge, the impact on legislation is substantial.


Daniel Wirls

The “Golden Age” Senate and Floor Debate in the Antebellum Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 193

An image of an antebellum “golden age” of Senate debate and deliberation has passed virtually unblemished from one generation of historians and political analysts to the next. In what ways, if any, is the image of a more deliberative Senate evident in the realities of antebellum House and Senate debates? In this article, I present a series of case studies to examine elements of the quantity and quality of floor debate in each chamber. By providing comparative evidence about House and Senate debate during the antebellum period, I offer an assessment and critique of the bicameral implications of the largely untested “golden age” understanding of the Senate and join other recent efforts to reassess the nature of the early Senate and its relation to the House. My results show the conventional wisdom to be an oversimplification, at least in its implications about the scope and depth of House debates. The House debated as long, and arguably as well, as the Senate on the signal issues of the day.



Searching for the Electoral Connection:  Parliamentary Party Switching in the Ukrainian Rada, 1998–2002

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 223

Studies of legislative behavior almost universally begin with the assumption that legislators desire reelection. For scholars who study the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, this assumption is perhaps tenuous, given the weaknesses of political parties and the significant party switching. Yet an analysis of party switching between 1998 and 2002 using a new method that controls for selection bias demonstrates that, although turnover among parties was high, this turnover followed an electoral logic: deputies changed parties, in part, to secure reelection. Thus, the electoral connection, assumed in so much of the legislative behavior literature, existed even in the chaotic Rada.


Bryan W. Marshall and Brandon C. Prins 

Strategic Position Taking and Presidential Influence in Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 257

The rise and fall of presidential success in Congress remains a central puzzle in the literature. We model success as two interrelated processes: presidential position taking and Congress’s decision to support or oppose the president. The analysis emphasizes the importance of strategic position taking in determining presidential success. We show that presidential approval significantly influences success, not only because it affects congressional behavior, but also because it shapes presidential decisions to take positions. Moreover, we explain that legislative success during the honeymoon period is driven by presidential position taking. Our findings highlight the role of a president’s strategic decisions for theories explaining congressional-executive relations.


Jennifer Wolak

Strategic Retirements: The Influence of Public Preferences on Voluntary Departures from Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 285

Are members of Congress responsive to public preferences in their decisions to seek reelection or retire, or do members simply rely on the advantages of incumbency to secure reelection? I argue that members of Congress consider their electoral vulnerability when deciding whether or not to seek reelection, informing their reelection odds with the same short-term electoral forces that influence election outcomes: partisan preferences, economic evaluations, and congressional approval. Considering aggregate rates of voluntary departures from the House and Senate from 1954 to 2004, I show that rates of retirement reflect, not only institutional environments within Congress, but also the mood of the electorate.



The Policymaking Role of State Supreme Courts in Education Policy

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 309

In this article, I examine the relationship between courts and legislatures from a comparative perspective. Specifically, I discuss how (1) the ideological composition of the bench, (2) the propensity of court involvement in a given policy area, and (3) the presence of an advisory opinion affect the number of bill introductions and policy enactments by state legislatures. Examination of education policy in the American states reveals that ideologically distant courts limit the number of bill ­introductions and bill enactments in state legislatures. Alternatively, the presence of an advisory opinion increases policy introduction and enactment in state legislatures. A fundamental implication of these findings is that courts exert the greatest impact on policy during the introduction stage of the legislative process. Previous studies have not examined the introduction stage and have therefore marginalized the real impact of court influence on policy.


Volume XXXII, Number 3

August 2007




Jason M. Roberts

The Statistical Analysis of Roll-Call Data: A Cautionary Tale

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 337

Roll-call voting and congressional procedures are two of the most heavily studied aspects of the U.S. Congress. To date, little work has focused on the effect of procedures on the composition of the roll-call record. This article takes a step in this direction by demonstrating the effect of chamber rules and institutional constraints on House and Senate roll-call data, as well as on the inferences that scholars have drawn from the roll-call record. More specifically, I focus on recent efforts to measure party effects and ideological alignments, and I demonstrate that the composition of the roll-call record can affect these measures.


Scott J. Basinger and Michael J. Ensley

Candidates, Campaigns, or Partisan Conditions? Reevaluating Strategic-Politicians Theory

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 361

According to strategic-politicians theory, political elites help ensure electoral responsiveness even when the mass public is deficient. Testing this theory requires measuring the effects of candidate experience and campaign spending, but one must confront endogeneity problems, because the theory requires potential candidates and campaign contributors to be responsive to district partisan conditions and national partisan tides. By applying an instrumental-variable method to control for selection bias, we found that challenger experience only matters indirectly, through its effect on campaign expenditures, but partisan context matters both directly and indirectly. We theorize that challenger experience is best understood as an informational shortcut: it signals incumbent vulnerability to potential campaign contributors.


Jason A. MacDonald

The U.S. Congress and the Institutional Design of Agencies

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 395

Theories of agency design maintain that lawmakers impose requirements on how bureaucratic agencies make policy decisions, preventing those agencies from undermining lawmakers’ political and policy goals. Empirical support for these theories is limited, however, by the difficulty of measuring critical variables hypothesized to influence the use of this tool of political control. For this study, I employed a methodology particularly well suited, but not previously employed, to study variance in the use of agency design provisions: interviews with congressional committee staff. Staffers’ responses support several theories, cast doubt on one explanation, and point to nuances in other explanations of agency design.


Katrina L. Gamble

Black Political Representation: An Examination of Legislative Activity Within U.S. House Committees

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 421

How minority legislators influence policy development in Congress remains a relevant question for those interested in race and political representation. This article addresses this question using evidence from participation in committee work—a vantage point that has received minimal attention in scholarship on black political representation. I interpret racial differences in participation in House committees across a range of policy areas, demonstrating that black members participate at higher rates within committees than whites on both black interest and nonracial bills. The results suggest that race has a substantive effect on members’ policy priorities and their legislative activity within committees.


Michelle A. Barnello and Kathleen A. Bratton

Bridging the Gender Gap in Bill Sponsorship

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 449

Under what circumstances do men sponsor issues that are traditionally regarded as salient primarily to women? By examining the sponsorship of legislation in the upper and lower chambers of 15 state legislatures in 2001, we explored the conditions under which men are likely to focus attention on policy areas involving women’s issues and children’s issues. We found little effect of institutional context (such as party control of the legislature or diversity within the legislature) on the sponsorship behavior of either men or women. Personal characteristics such as race, education, age, and family circumstances are associated with sponsorship by men, but not by women. Committee service is also strongly associated with sponsorship behavior, particularly for men. Differences in sponsorship are relatively marked in the sponsorship of legislation that focuses on reproduction or other health issues particularly relevant to women. We conclude that the boundaries of the set of issues traditionally defined as “women’s issues” may be changing over time and that it is important to recognize that the influences on the sponsorship of women’s issues can be different for men than they are for women.


Brian F. Schaffner

Political Parties and the Representativeness of Legislative Committees

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 475

What role do parties play in determining which interests committees represent? In this article, I compare committee organization and representativeness in Nebraska’s nonpartisan legislature with those in the partisan senates of Kansas and Iowa. I demonstrate that when parties do not organize legislative conflict, committees are less representative of the full chamber. I argue, however, that committee representativeness does not necessarily result from parties actively working to create representative committees. Rather, when legislative conflict has a definitive partisan structure and the committees are always controlled by the majority party, representative committees will result as a simple by-product of the partisan structure and organization.


Volume XXXII, Number 4

November 2007




Douglas L. Kriner and Francis X. Shen

Iraq Casualties and the 2006 Senate Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 507

Prior scholarship on the effects of war casualties on U.S. elections has focused on large-scale conflicts. For this article, we examined whether or not the much smaller casualty totals incurred in Iraq had a similar influence on the 2006 Senate contests. We found that the change in vote share from 2000 to 2006 for Republican Senate candidates at both the state and county level was significantly and negatively related to local casualty tallies and rates. These results provide compelling evidence for the existence of a democratic brake on military adventurism, even in small-scale wars, but one that is strongest in communities that have disproportionately shouldered a war’s costs.


Christian R. Grose and Bruce I. Oppenheimer

The Iraq War, Partisanship, and Candidate Attributes: Variation in Partisan Swing in the 2006 U.S. House Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 531

Although partisan swing is often assumed to be uniform across congressional districts, our analysis of the 2006 House elections demonstrates that systematic variation exists. In addition to incumbency status, partisanship, spending, and scandal, variation in the local salience of national issues across districts affects vote shifts in these districts. Notably, partisan swing in Republican districts proved highly sensitive to the number of Iraq war deaths from that district and, to a lesser degree, to the roll-call vote of Republican House members on the war resolution. These findings have implications for theories of anticipatory representation, retrospective voting, and electoral accountability.


Michele Swers

Building a Reputation on National Security: The Impact of Stereotypes Related to Gender and Military Experience

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 559

In a post-9/11 world, all senators must establish their national security credentials with voters. Yet senators do not compete for leadership on an equal basis. Through an analysis of bill sponsorship, Sunday talk show appearances, and interviews with Senate staff, I demonstrate that defense policy is made in a partisan and gendered context. Gender stereotypes favoring male defense leadership create an additional hurdle for women, particularly Democratic women, as they seek to establish their reputations on security. By contrast, a record of military service facilitates senators’ efforts to achieve action on their proposals and gain media attention for their views.


Kristina C. Miler

The View from the Hill: Legislative Perceptions of the District

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 597

This article addresses legislative perceptions of constituents’ interests and develops a theory of perception that highlights the role of information accessibility in the formation of legislative offices’ views of their districts. I used original data regarding health policy in the U.S. House to analyze perceptions of constituents’ interests. I found that legislators do not see all constituents in their district, nor do they see the largest constituencies. Rather, legislators are more likely to see active and resource-rich constituents. These findings provide unique evidence of the influence of money in Congress and suggest that legislative misperception is both common and systematically biased.


Paul S. Herrnson and Irwin L. Morris

Presidential Campaigning in the 2002 Congressional Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 629

Theories involving coattails, surge and decline, presidential popularity, and the economy ascribe little importance to presidential efforts to influence congressional elections. Since such efforts do occur, we ask: What happens when a president campaigns for fellow partisans? We examined President George W. Bush’s decisions to campaign for certain House candidates in 2002, and we assessed the effect of his visits on Republicans’ electoral successes. Both the competitiveness of a race and the president’s electoral self-interest increased the likelihood of a visit on behalf of a candidate. Neither party loyalty nor presidential support in Congress had an effect. We conclude that presidential campaign visits significantly enhance candidates’ electoral prospects.


James M. Snyder, Jr. and Michiko Ueda

Do Multimember Districts Lead to Free-Riding?

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXII: 649

We studied the effects of districting on intergovernmental aid by state governments to local governments in the United States. We found that metropolitan areas receive relatively more aid when represented in the state legislature by an at-large delegation than when divided into single-member districts. This suggests that the free-riding that may occur with at-large representation is more than counterbalanced by other factors. The estimated effects are robust to the effects of other confounding factors as well as the choice of estimators.


Volume XXXIII, Number 1

February 2008




Carlos Pereira, Timothy J. Power, and Lucio R. Rennó

Agenda Power, Executive Decree Authority, and the Mixed Results of Reform in the Brazilian Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 5

This article examines how institutional change in the use of extraordinary legislation affects delegation of power and unilateral action in new democracies. From 1988 to 2001, Brazilian presidents were able to reissue decrees indefinitely and thus had substantial legislative power. In 2001, Congress amended the constitution so as to restrict the president to a single reissue of each lapsed decree. This reform has had mixed results: although it ended the practice of infinite reissues, it induced Presidents Cardoso and Lula to use more decrees than previous executives had. Presidential agenda power, rather than being reduced, has been sharpened. By analyzing patterns of presidential initiatives from 1995 to 2005, we demonstrate the mixed results of this constitutional reform.


Charles J. Finocchiaro and David W. Rohde

War for the Floor: Partisan Theory and Agenda Control in the U.S. House of Representatives

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 35

This article extends recent research on partisan agenda control in the U.S. House of Representatives to the issue of procedural control of the legislative agenda via special rules. In particular, we draw out a facet of cartel and conditional party government theories that has not been addressed in prior analyses: the simultaneous interrelationship between positive and negative agenda control. Using roll-call data on two procedural matters—votes to order the previous question on a special rule and votes to adopt a special rule—over the 1953–2002 period, we found that, in the area of procedural control of the floor agenda, the majority party’s amount of agenda control depends to a significant degree upon the party’s homogeneity and power.


Chris Den Hartog and Nathan W. Monroe

The Value of Majority Status: The Effect of Jeffords’s Switch on Asset Prices of Republican and Democratic Firms

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 63

Using the change in party control of the Senate that resulted from Jim Jeffords’s 2001 change in party affiliation, we compare competing partisan and partyless legislative theories. We offer a reconceptualization of agenda control that provides a new and promising basis for studying parties and policymaking in the Senate. Also, we present a novel methodology—an “event study”—to test partisan and partyless hypotheses. Our results show that, when Jeffords switched, the stock prices of Republican-supported energy firms dropped and prices for Democrat-supported firms rose, supporting the hypothesis that the majority party influences Senate decisions.



E. Scott Adler and John D. Wilkerson

Intended Consequences: Jurisdictional Reform and Issue Control in the U.S. House of Representatives

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 85

The power of congressional committees rests in large part on their ability to set the legislative agenda in particular issue areas. But how do committees acquire their issue jurisdictions? Existing research points to informal committee turf wars—not collective reforms—as the roots of jurisdictional allocations (King 1994, 1997). Yet the House of Representatives has made nearly 150 formal changes to its committees’ jurisdictions since 1973. We investigated the effects of one prominent instance of extensive jurisdictional changes, the Bolling-Hansen reforms of 1975, and found that this body of reforms advanced collective goals of improved policy coordination and enhanced information sharing.


Eric McGhee

Cohort Effects and the Incumbency Advantage

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 113

The literature on the incumbency advantage in U.S. House elections has focused mostly on political variables, such as competition and incumbent resources. For this article, I identify an important sociological variable: a cohort effect that separates older generations from younger ones. Younger generations have been more likely to vote for incumbents, and the difference has endured over time, even as the political environment itself has changed and become more partisan. Moreover, the results hold even when one controls for partisan identification and general time-period effects. The incumbency advantage may be a broader and more-enduring part of American politics than has previously been recognized.


Shigeo Hirano

Third Parties, Elections, and Roll-Call Votes: The Populist Party and the Late Nineteenth-Century U.S. Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 131

What effect do electorally successful third parties have on congressional roll-call votes? There is widespread belief among scholars that third parties influence the policies of the major parties, but there is little systematic evidence of this influence. I exploit the unique historical context surrounding the Populist Party formation in 1892 to examine the effect of the Populist Party’s electoral success on congressional roll-call votes related to Populist issues. The results are consistent with two claims. First, co-optation of the Populist Party’s issues occurred even before the formation of the party. Second, the co-optation of Populist policies does not appear to be correlated with the electoral success of the Populist candidates.




Volume XXXIII, Number 2

May 2008




Gary W. Cox, William B. Heller, and Mathew D. McCubbins

Agenda Power in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, 1988–2000

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 171

We present strong evidence that governing coalitions in Italy exercise significant negative agenda powers. First, governing parties have a roll rate that is nearly 0, and their roll rate is lower than opposition parties’ roll rates, which average about 20% on all final-passage votes. Second, after one controls for distance from the floor median, opposition parties have higher roll rates than government parties. These results strongly suggest that governing parties in Italy are able to control the legislative agenda to their benefit. We also document significantly higher opposition roll rates on decree-conversion bills and budget bills than on ordinary bills—results consistent with our theoretical analysis of the differing procedures used in each case.


Frances E. Lee

Agreeing to Disagree: Agenda Content and Senate Partisanship, 1981­–2004

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 199

This article presents evidence that the recent increase in partisanship in Senate roll-call voting is partly due to changes in the content of the Senate agenda. The analysis draws on an original dataset classifying Senate roll-call votes from 1981 to 2004 according to substantive issue content. Over the past two decades, the types of issues that were most divisive along partisan lines in earlier periods became progressively more prominent on the Senate roll-call agenda. Even when one controls for the effects of other electoral and institutional factors, one finds that the shifting agenda notably contributed to the rise in Senate partisanship.


Thomas L. Brunell, Christopher J. Anderson, and Rachel K. Cremona

Descriptive Representation, District Demography, and Attitudes toward Congress among African Americans

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 223

We examined the effects of subjective and objective descriptive representation and district demography on African Americans’ attitudes toward their member of Congress and the U.S. Congress as an institution. We investigated whether or not African Americans in more racially homogeneous districts differ in their attitudes from counterparts in districts with fewer African Americans. We also studied the effects of descriptive representation and district demography to determine if these effects are contingent on voters’ perceptions of descriptive representation. We found that living in a district with a higher proportion of blacks enhances African American voters’ feelings toward their representative and marginally elevates these voters’ evaluations of Congress. This effect is mediated, however, by the election of a black representative to Congress.



Benjamin Highton

Job Approval and Senate Election Outcomes in the United States

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 245

 A growing body of congressional scholarship investigates variation in the incumbent electoral advantage that depends on factors such as competence, political skill, and ideological extremity. This article contributes to this line of work by providing analysis of the relationship between senators’ home-state approval ratings and their electoral fortunes using newly available data from the Job Approval Ratings (JAR) collection. The findings show that senatorial job approval affects retirement, quality-candidate emergence, campaign spending, and outcomes. The myriad indirect effects suggest that strategic political actors are central to the process by which incumbents are held accountable for the reputations they develop in their constituencies.


Charles J. Finocchiaro and Jeffery A. Jenkins

In Search of Killer Amendments in the Modern U.S. House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 263

Numerous studies have examined the incidence of killer amendments in Congress, but most of these studies have been either case specific, focusing on the legislative maneuverings around a single issue or bill, or temporally limited, focusing on strategic activity in only one or two Congresses. In this article, we present the beginning of a comprehensive research agenda for the systematic study of killer amendments. Using roll-call data from the 83d through the 108th U.S. House (1953–2004), we identified those bills that (a) were successfully amended and (b) subsequently went down to defeat, a necessary condition for the existence of a killer amendment. We then examined these cases in greater detail, using both spatial analyses and case studies. Our analysis uncovered five cases, four of which are new, that appear to have the characteristics of true killer amendments, thus setting the stage for future analyses across time and legislative chambers and bodies.



Douglas Kriner and Liam Schwartz

Divided Government and Congressional Investigations

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 295

This article explores the political determinants of congressional investigatory activity. Using Mayhew’s list of high-profile probes updated through 2006, we developed five measures of the frequency and intensity of investigative oversight. Contra Mayhew, we found that divided government spurs congressional investigatory activity. A shift from unified to divided government yields a five-fold increase in the number of hearings held and quadruples their duration. Conditional party government models also offer explanatory leverage because homogeneous majorities are more likely to investigate the president in divided government and less likely to do so in unified government. This dynamic is strongest in the House, but analyses of the Senate also afford consistent, if muted, evidence of partisan agenda control.


Jesse Richman

Uncertainty and the Prevalence of Committee Outliers

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 323

Political scientists often suppose that the informational model of legislative organization predicts an absence of committee outliers. In fact, the model predicts that committee outliers will be more common when the floor is more uncertain than its committees. Data limitations have largely prevented testing this uncertainty-outlier prediction, until now. For this article, I investigated whether or not the informational model correctly predicts under what scenarios outliers will be more frequent. As predicted, more uncertainty is associated with more committee outliers in U.S. state legislatures. Legislatures in which the floor is less informed than the committees are more likely to have committee outliers.


Volume XXXIII, Number 3

August 2008




Linda L. Fowler and R. Brian Law

Seen but Not Heard: Committee Visibility and Institutional Change
in the Senate National Security Committees, 1947–2006

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 357

Scholars have neglected the effect of the press on political institutions in favor of media influences on campaigns or on voters’ trust and information about government. This article examines senators’ committee preferences in response to declining media coverage of Congress, focusing on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees from 1947 to 2006. The research relies on new, continuous measures of committee desirability and a unique dataset of congressional press coverage. Although both committees’ visibility and attractiveness have declined dramatically over 60 years, statistical analyses indicate that change in internal rules and external events are the most important influences on senators’ investment in committee careers.


Neil Malhotra

Disentangling the Relationship between Legislative Professionalism and Government Spending

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 387

Recent movements to deprofessionalize American state legislatures have been driven partly by the notion that professional legislators spend more than their citizen counterparts. This article explores the relationship between legislative professionalism and government spending, a connection complicated by the possibility that legislators in high-spending states may choose professional institutions to handle their responsibilities more effectively. I employed propensity score matching, an increasingly used technique of causal inference, to disentangle the relationship. Contrary to previous academic work and popular notions, I found that professional legislatures do not spend significantly more than part-time bodies do, if one accounts for the fact that legislatures in high-spending states have a greater need to be professionalized and therefore select those structural frameworks. These findings have important implications for the study of the effects of legislative institutions on public policies more generally and attest to the utility of recently developed techniques of causal inference to disentangle these relationships.


Tanya Bagashka

Invisible Politics: Institutional Incentives and Legislative Alignments in the Russian Duma, 1996–99

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 415

Previous analysis of legislative voting has focused on the behavior of nominal legislative parties, regardless of whether the country under examination was an established democracy or a newly democratized country. This approach is inadequate for countries with young party systems. To establish the extent to which legislative coalitions are party based, scholars must allow for the possibility that institutional incentives predominate over party influence. For this study, I applied a Bayesian discrete latent variable method to identify the legislative coalitions in the 1996–99 Duma. I found that legislative alignments cut across party lines: electoral incentives and support for the president contribute to divides within parties that lack coherent platforms. Here I present a novel methodological approach to the identification of intraparty divisions and the major determinants of legislative coalitions in many legislative settings. This approach allows a comparison of the importance of party influence relative to other institutional incentives. It is especially useful for analyzing legislative voting in young party systems and where constitutional frameworks and electoral systems subject legislators to competing pressures.




Brian J. Fogarty

The Strategy of the Story: Media Monitoring Legislative Activity

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 445

To what degree do the news media provide voters with the information needed to hold House members accountable for their actions in Congress? Previous studies have simply debated whether or not local news media cover politicians’ actions, but this article considers the news media as a strategic actor when covering House members. I developed a set of theoretical expectations about the conditions under which local news media would be more or less likely to monitor the actions of members of Congress outside of election seasons. I tested these expectations using an extensive content analysis of local newspapers in both descriptive and multivariate settings. I find that local news media are strategic in their coverage of local members of Congress. Local newspapers invest more resources to cover out-of-step members than they do to follow members with policy preferences congruent with the district’s. In addition, coverage of out-of-step members tends to be less positive than coverage of in-step members.




Philip D. Habel

The Consequences of Electoral Institutions for Careerism

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 471

Although electoral institutions have been shown to have a variety of effects, scholars have not investigated if certain voting rules enable politicians to enjoy longer legislative careers. I took advantage of a natural experiment—a sudden transition from a semiproportional voting rule to single-member districts with plurality voting (SMDP)—to measure the effect of electoral institutions on careerism. My analysis revealed that voting rules have a profound influence on the dynamics of legislative careers: politicians elected under SMDP are far less likely to suffer electoral defeat or to retire than those elected via cumulative voting. The findings of this study not only provide additional insight into the seat safety of politicians elected in first-past-the-post systems, but moreover offer new criteria by which to evaluate the choice of electoral institutions.


Volume XXXIII, Number 4

November 2008




Gerhard Loewenberg

The Contribution of Comparative Research to Measuring the Policy Preferences of Legislators

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 499

Comparative legislative research has contributed to an examination of the validity of roll-call votes as measures of legislators’ policy preferences. It has prompted an awareness of the influence of legislative structure on the composition of the voting record. Comparative research on members’ ideal points has confronted the problems of selection effects, abstentions, the influence of the agenda setter, and the effect of party strategy. It has encouraged the search for alternate measures of members’ preferences, including members’ speech, cosponsorship, survey responses, and party manifestos. In the non-American setting, ideal points have been regarded as group-level, as well as individual-level, variables. The game-theoretic approach to the study of legislatures has led to the formulation of hypotheses relating legislative structure to members’ ideal points.


Joshua D. Clinton and John Lapinski

Laws and Roll Calls in the U.S. Congress, 1891–1994

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 511

Recent empirical studies of lawmaking activity by legislatures rely heavily on roll call based measures and assume that roll call activity reflects lawmaking activity. We question this assumption for the case of the U.S. Congress. We examine several plausible sources of dissonance between the set of enacted public statutes and the universe of recorded votes in the U.S. Congress, using a comprehensive dataset of public enactments and roll call activity between 1891 and 1994. Because only 11.9% of the bills signed into law receive a recorded vote in the House, only 7.9% receive a recorded vote in the Senate, and only 5.5% receive a recorded vote in both the House and Senate, we provide guidance as to when studying voting behavior is likely a reasonable proxy for lawmaking behavior. There are sometimes important differences between the laws that do and do not receive a roll call that researchers should account for when using roll calls to study lawmaking in the U.S. Congress.


Clifford Carrubba, Matthew Gabel, and Simon Hug

Legislative Voting Behavior, Seen and Unseen: A Theory of Roll-Call Vote Selection

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 543

The empirical study of legislative behavior largely relies on roll-call vote analysis, but roll-call votes in many legislatures represent only a sample of legislative votes. We have good reasons to believe this sample is particularly poor for inferring party effects on legislative behavior. The selection of votes for roll call may be endogenous to exactly the characteristics of voting behavior (for instance, party cohesion) that we want to study. We must understand the roll-call vote institution and account for its selection effects before we can draw inferences about legislative behavior from roll-call results. This article develops a game-theoretic model of roll-call vote requests predicated on party leaders requesting votes to enforce party discipline. The model offers general and testable predictions about the selection process and how it affects observed and unobserved legislative voting behavior, particularly party cohesion.



Guillermo Rosas and Yael Shomer

Models of Nonresponse in Legislative Politics

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 573

Tools dedicated to inferring the ideological leanings of legislators from ­observed votes—techniques such as Nominate (Poole and Rosenthal 1997) or the item-response-theory model of Clinton, Jackman, and Rivers (2004)—rest on the assumption that the political process that generates abstentions is ignorable, an assumption not always easy to justify. We extended the item-response-theory model to analyze abstention and voting processes simultaneously in situations where abstentions are suspected to be nonrandom. We applied this expanded model to two assemblies where the existing literature gives reason to expect nonrandom abstentions, and we demonstrate how our extensions yield nuanced analyses of legislative politics. We also acknowledge limits to our ability to decide on the adequacy of alternative assumptions about abstentions, since these assumptions are not readily verifiable.


Gary W. Cox and William C. Terry

Legislative Productivity in the 93d–105th Congresses

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 603

We exploit a large new dataset in order to revisit the determinants of “legislative success” in Congress. Previous studies have focused on one or (rarely) two Congresses. Ours is the first study based on panel data, allowing us to better measure such causal effects as how a member’s productivity increases when they become a committee chair or their party attains a majority. While corroborating several previous findings, we also differ on several important points—e.g., whereas the most sophisticated previous study finds greater seniority and committee leadership posts boosting productivity in neither party, we find them boosting productivity in both.



Strategic Voting in Multi-Office Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIII: 619

What are the incentives for voters to vote strategically when legislative policy outcomes are constrained by a system of checks and balances? The policy-balancing theory supposes that moderate voters split their tickets because such splitting is the only way these voters can achieve moderate policy outcomes. I show that a different type of strategic voting, policy stacking, is characteristic of legislatures that endow the majority party with only limited institutional powers. Focusing on voting for the president and House of Representatives in the United States reveals that a substantial proportion of voters engage in policy-stacking behavior, but very few engage in policy-balancing behavior.


Volume XXXIV, Number 1

February 2009





Making Quotas Work: The Effect of Gender Quota Laws on the Election of Women

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 5–28

Gender quota laws are intended to increase the number of women elected to legislatures, but initial evidence suggests that many laws have had little effect. I present a cross-national, statistical test that analyzes how three key dimensions of candidate quota laws affect women’s representation. My results show that quotas that require more women to be on party ballots lead to the election of more women, independent of placement mandates and enforcement mechanisms, but rules governing where female candidates are listed on the ballot and sanctions for noncompliance amplify that effect. Candidate quotas can increase women’s representation, but the quotas’ effectiveness depends on their design.


Jonathan Woon

Issue Attention and Legislative Proposals in the U.S. Senate

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 29–54

This analysis of bill sponsorship across a variety of issues and Congresses shows that committee membership is the single most important factor shaping a senator’s level of issue attention. Constituency demand is of secondary importance. Ideology, partisanship, and national conditions play little or no role. Consistent with a theoretical cost-benefit framework, the results suggest that senators are motivated by the prospect of electoral and policy rewards from successful legislation rather than from mere position taking. The findings attest to the enduring importance of the committee system in a highly individualistic and increasingly partisan Senate.



Thad Kousser and Justin H. Phillips

Who Blinks First? Legislative Patience and Bargaining with Governors

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 55–86

When legislators and governors clash over the size of American state government, what strategic factors determine who wins? Efforts to address this question have traditionally relied upon setter models borrowed from the congressional literature and have predicted legislative dominance. We offer an alternative simplification of state budget negotiations that follows the “staring match” logic captured by divide-the-dollar games. Our model predicts that governors will often be powerful but that professional legislatures can stand up to the executives when long legislative ­sessions give them the patience to endure a protracted battle over the size of the budget. In this article, we present our analysis of an original dataset comprising gubernatorial budget proposals and legislative enactments in the states from 1989 through 2004. The results indicate strong empirical support for our predictions.



Eduardo Alemán, Ernesto Calvo, Mark P. Jones, and Noah Kaplan

Comparing Cosponsorship and Roll-Call Ideal Points

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 87–116

We use bill cosponsorship and roll-call vote data to compare legislators’ ­revealed preferences in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Argentine Chamber of Deputies. We estimate ideal points from bill cosponsorship data using principal-component analysis on an agreement matrix that included information on all bills introduced in the U.S. House (1973–2000) and Argentine Chamber (1983–2002). The ideal-point estimates of legislators’ revealed preferences based on cosponsorship data strongly correlate with similar estimates derived from roll-call vote data. Also, cosponsorship activity in the U.S. House has lower dimensionality than cosponsorship has in the Argentine Chamber. We explain this lower discrimination as a function of individual- and district-level factors in both countries.


Sebastian M. Saiegh

Recovering a Basic Space from Elite Surveys: Evidence from Latin America

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 117–45

I used elite survey data and scaling techniques to estimate the location of political actors (parties, chief executives, and legislators) from nine countries in a common ideological space. The recovered ideological configuration of each country accurately reflects the description of that country’s political landscape given by the popular press and in the scholarly literature. My findings demonstrate that data generated by survey responses can be reliably used to locate legislators’ ideological positions in a low-dimensional space in a manner analogous to the roll-call-based methods commonly used in the scholarship on the U.S. Congress. My approach has two important advantages over methods that use roll-call data, expert surveys, or some combination thereof. First, it does not rely on recorded votes and so is unaffected by concerns about the validity of roll-call data as unbiased indicators of legislator preference. And, because it does not require access to voting records, this approach can be applied to any legislature in the world. Second, my method can be used to estimate the location of political actors in a common ideological space.



Volume XXXIV, Number 2

May 2009




Simon Hix and Abdul Noury

After Enlargement: Voting Patterns in the Sixth European Parliament

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 159–74

We examined how voting behavior in the European Parliament changed after the European Union added ten new member-states in 2004. Using roll-call votes, we compared voting behavior in the first half of the Sixth European Parliament (July 2004–December 2006) with voting behavior in the previous Parliament (1999–2004). We looked at party cohesion, coalition formation, and the spatial map of voting by members of the European Parliament. We found stable levels of party cohesion and interparty coalitions that formed mainly around the left-right dimension. Ideological distance between parties was the strongest predictor of coalition preferences. Overall, the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 did not change the way politics works inside the European Parliament. We also looked at the specific case of the controversial Services Directive and found that ideology remained the main predictor of voting behavior, although nationality also played a role.



Ronald D. Hedlund, Kevin Coombs, Nancy Martorano, and Keith E. Hamm

Partisan Stacking on Legislative Committees

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 175–91

One aspect of the partisan model for legislative committee development that is rarely studied is the degree to which the majority party seeks to control legislative committees—and, thereby, chamber decisions—via numerically “overproportional” majority party representation on standing committees. This form of “party stacking” is often mentioned in the literature but has received little systematic examination and hypothesis testing. Using data from state legislative committees for all 49 partisan legislatures in the 2003–04 and 2005–06 sessions, we found support for the partisan model: majority party stacking is associated with a slim majority party advantage in a state legislative chamber.


Michael D. Minta

Legislative Oversight and the Substantive Representation of Black and Latino Interests in Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 193–218

When determining whether or not legislators are representing their constituents’ interests, scholars using voting studies may overstate the role of strategic factors, such as reelection goals and constituent influence, while understating the effect of descriptive characteristics. I argue that race and ethnicity matter in congressional oversight of bureaucratic policymaking. My examination of hearing transcripts from the 107th Congress indicates that minority legislators are more likely than white legislators to participate in racial-oversight hearings but not more likely than whites to participate in social welfare hearings. The results show that descriptive representation contributes to substantive representation, even if the costs of participating outweigh the electoral benefits.


Michael H. Murakami

Minority Status, Ideology, or Opportunity: Explaining the Greater Retirement of House Republicans

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 219–44

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives tend to retire at a higher rate than Democrats—a fact with potentially important electoral and policy ramifications—but research on the possible explanations for this partisan disparity has been scarce. I test various explanatory hypotheses using multilevel statistical analyses and find that Republicans are more likely to retire—not because they have been the predominant minority party, had more political opportunities, or had different private-sector experiences, but because they harbor more conservative ideologies than their Democratic colleagues.



Beth A. Rosenson

Congressional Frequent Flyers: Demand- and Supply-Side Explanations for Privately Sponsored Travel

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 245–71

Privately sponsored congressional travel raises questions about the influence of interest groups on lawmakers and about legislative behavior. I used multiple regression to explain variation in congressional travel, looking at 15,825 trips, both domestic and overseas, taken by House and Senate members and their staff between 2001 and 2004. I found that both supply-side and demand-side factors influence congressional travel. Electoral vulnerability corresponds with reduced trip-taking, and institutional power is associated with greater trip-taking, although not to the extent that rent-seeking theory might predict. Members’ racial or ethnic minority status also corresponds with greater trip-taking in the House. Pending retirement also influences trip-taking, but in the opposite direction from what some “shirking” theories would predict.


Dennis Patterson

Candidates, Votes, Outcomes: A Method for Evaluating Nomination Strategies in MMD/SNTV Electoral Systems

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 273–85

While characterized by disagreement, all scholarly work on multimember district electoral systems in which each voter casts a single, nontransferable vote (MMD/SNTV) is alike in one way: it evaluates party nominations under the assumption that votes are invariant under alternative strategies. But party votes may, in fact, vary with different nomination strategies. Moreover, depending on how much party votes vary under alternative nomination strategies, a method that considers such changes may evaluate nominations differently than previous studies in the literature have. In this article, I address party-vote variance, proposing a method that estimates how much a party’s obtained votes change under alternative nomination strategies and using this method to reevaluate the nominating behavior of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party.


Volume XXXIV, Number 3

August 2009




Daniel M. Butler

The Effect of the Size of Voting Blocs on Incumbents’ Roll-Call Voting and the Asymmetric Polarization of Congress

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 297–318

Candidates face a trade-off in the general election between taking a more-moderate position that appeals to swing voters and a more-extreme position that appeals to voters in the party’s base. The threat of abstention by voters in the party’s base if their candidate takes a position too moderate for them moves candidates to take more-extreme positions. I discuss hypotheses regarding how this trade-off affects candidate positioning and describe my tests of those hypotheses using data on House members in the 107th Congress and Senate members for the period 1982–2004. I then present data on how the distribution of voters in the electorate has changed over the past three decades and discuss how, in light of my empirical findings, these changes might explain the observed pattern of asymmetric polarization in Congress in recent decades.


David C.W. Parker and Matthew Dull

Divided We Quarrel: The Politics of Congressional Investigations, 1947–2004

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 319–45

Are congressional committee investigations into alleged executive-branch wrongdoing more common during periods of divided government? We analyze original data tracking congressional committee investigations into alleged fraud, waste, and abuse by the executive branch between 1947 and 2004. Countering David Mayhew’s (1991) empirical finding, we show that divided government generates more and more-intensive congressional investigations, but this relationship is contingent on partisan and temporal factors. Our findings shed new light on the shifting dynamic between partisan institutional politics and congressional oversight.


Jeffrey Lazarus and Amy Steigerwalt

Different Houses: The Distribution of Earmarks in the U.S. House and Senate

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 347–73

Nearly all studies of pork-barrel politics in the U.S. Congress focus on the House, biasing our conception of how politics influences federal spending and skewing our attention toward factors that are active in the House. This article highlights differences between the Senate and House in how pork is allocated. We identify four important differences between the House and Senate, generate hypotheses regarding how each difference should influence the distribution of pork projects, and test these hypotheses using data from earmarks in the Appropriations bills passed by the two chambers for fiscal year 2008. The results support three of our four hypotheses, suggesting that senators are driven by different motivations than House members. These results imply that theoretical accounts of pork-barrel spending need to account for these interchamber differences. Our findings also highlight how studies of legislative behavior, more generally, need to account for important differences in legislative structure and organization.


James Coleman Battista

Why Information? Choosing Committee Informativeness in U.S. State Legislatures

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 375–97

Using a new dataset drawn from American state legislatures, I modeled the informativeness of legislative committees as a choice over institutions. I found higher informativeness to be associated with better preparedness for information transfer, more-partisan chambers, and higher demand for information combined with greater incentives to control committee assignments. These associations shed light on congressional committee informativeness. A simple model of committee informativeness can predict the informativeness of the U.S. House’s committees.


Jason P. Casellas

The Institutional and Demographic Determinants of Latino Representation

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 399–426

Under what conditions are Latino candidates elected to Congress and state legislatures? How much does the ethnic composition of a district affect the chances that a Latino candidate will be elected in that district? Latinos constitute the single largest minority group in the country, one that is growing at an exponential rate. Post-2000 redistricting created more majority-Latino districts, but the absolute number of Latino legislators did not increase correspondingly. My analysis demonstrates that states with citizen legislatures and with higher legislative turnover rates are more conducive to the election of Latino candidates than are other states. Institutional and demographic differences among states affect the states’ Latino descriptive representation. Namely, the institutional design of the legislature matters in terms of electoral responsiveness, with Arizona and California being the most responsive bodies and New York and the U.S. House the least responsive.


Walter Wilson

Latino Representation on Congressional Websites

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 427–48

Do Latino representatives enhance or “enlarge” Latino representation (Walsh 2002)? I examined the content of websites posted by members of the 110th Congress and found that the websites of Latino representatives are not more accessible to Spanish-speaking users than the websites of non-Latino representatives, nor are the sites more likely to exhibit pro-immigrant positions or offer immigration assistance. The websites of Latino representatives are, however, more likely to present Latino perspectives. Latino representatives enhance Latino representation in this forum by enlarging or broadening the presence of a Latino voice in policy discussion.


Volume XXXIV, Number 4

November 2009




Eric Schickler and Kathryn Pearson

Agenda Control, Majority Party Power, and the House Committee on Rules, 1937–52
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 455–92

The role of the U.S. House Rules Committee is consequential for theories of congressional parties, yet its role during the “conservative coalition” era is not well understood. We systematically analyzed the politics surrounding all special rules considered in Democratic Congresses from 1937 to 1952. We found that Rules repeatedly used its agenda power to push to the floor conservative initiatives that were opposed by the Democratic administration, the Rules Committee chair, and most northern Democrats, especially in Congresses that followed Republican election gains. The 44 conservative initiatives we identified include many of the most important policy issues considered during the period. Our findings challenge the idea that the majority party has consistently enjoyed a veto over which initiatives reach the floor, and they underscore the limits of roll-call-vote analysis in assessments of agenda control.




David C.W. Parker and Craig Goodman

Making a Good Impression: Resource Allocation, Home Styles, and Washington Work

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 493–524

Members of Congress engage in a variety of representational activities, but existing research suggests that the effect of these activities on reelection margins is mixed. Reframing the question, we examined whether or not constituents notice the home styles of members and members’ efforts to communicate their activities through the allocation of official resources. Combining new data on members’ office expenditures with data from the American National Election Studies, we found evidence that constituents perceive the representational activities of their members in a meaningful fashion. Franking, office expenditures, and travel back home to the district provide positive benefits to incumbents, shaping how constituents view these members and their activities.


David Lublin, Thomas l. Brunell, Bernard Grofman, and Lisa Handley
Has the Voting Rights Act Outlived Its Usefulness? In a Word, “No”

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 525–54

Race-conscious redistricting remains crucial to the election of an overwhelming number of African American and Latino officials. We present descriptive evidence, easily interpretable by nonspecialists, from recent elections at the state and federal levels to support our claims. The Voting Rights Act remains a valuable tool to protect the ability of minorities to elect their preferred candidates.


Royce Carroll, Jeffrey B. Lewis, James Lo, Keith T. Poole, and Howard Rosenthal

Comparing NOMINATE and IDEAL: Points of Difference and Monte Carlo Tests

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 555–92

Empirical models of spatial voting allow us to infer legislators’ locations in an abstract policy or ideological space using their roll-call votes. Over the past 25 years, these models have provided new insights about the U.S. Congress, and legislative behavior more generally. There are now a number of alternative models, estimators, and software packages that researchers can use to recover latent issue or ideological spaces from voting data. These different tools usually produce substantively similar estimates, but important differences also arise. We investigated the sources of observed differences between two leading methods, NOMINATE and IDEAL. Using data from the 1994 to 1997 Supreme Court and the 109th Senate, we determined that while some observed differences in the estimates produced by each model stem from fundamental differences in the models’ underlying behavioral assumptions, others arise from arbitrary differences in implementation. Our Monte Carlo experiments revealed that neither model has a clear advantage over the other in the recovery of legislator locations or roll-call midpoints in either large or small legislatures.


Joshua D. Clinton and Simon Jackman

To Simulate or NOMINATE?

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXIV: 593–622

Carroll et al. (2009) summarize the similarities and differences between the NOMINATE and ideal methods of fitting spatial voting models to binary roll-call data. As those authors note, for the class of problems with which either NOMINATE and the Bayesian quadratic-normal model can be used, the ideal point estimates almost always coincide, and when they do not, the discrepancy is due to the somewhat arbitrary identification and computational constraints imposed by each method. There are, however, many problems for which the Bayesian quadratic-normal model can be easily generalized, so as to address a broad array of questions and take advantage of additional data. Given the nature and source of the differences between NOMINATE and the Bayesian approach—as well as the fact that both approaches are approximations of the decision-making processes being modeled—we believe that it is preferable to choose the more flexible Bayesian approach.



Volume XXXV, Number 1

February 2010




Sylvia Gaylord

Delegation and Defensive Legislative Strategies in Brazil

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 5-30

In the course of the legislative process, legislators choose how much policy discretion to delegate to the executive branch. Uncertainty about policy outcomes and bureaucratic intentions weighs heavily in such decisions. In Brazil, executive control over the budget creates uncertainty about the availability of discretionary spending, which results in comparatively high levels of delegation in the legislature’s direct-spending decisions. I demonstrate that sidelining the legislature from the budget in order to insulate government spending from political pressures diminishes the value of legislative work in Brazil and reinforces historical patterns of policymaking centered on the federal executive.


Marcus André Melo, Carlos Pereira, and Heitor Werneck

Delegation Dilemmas: Coalition Size, Electoral Risk, and Regulatory Governance in New Democracies

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 31-56

This article addresses the determinants of regulatory agency design in multiparty-coalition governments. Previous research has mainly focused on U.S. institutions, producing context-specific findings. We found electoral uncertainty, government turnover, and coalition size to be key factors explaining the bureaucratic autonomy of 31 state regulatory agencies recently created at the subnational level in Brazil. The legislative support that chief executives enjoy only acquires explanatory power when it is interacted with government turnover. Because Brazilian governors have great ability to build oversized majority coalitions, coalition strength influences the governor’s strategy when the governor faces credible threats from rival elite groups.



Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson, John Strate, Kelly LeRoux, Richard C. Elling, Lyke Thompson, and Charles D. Elder

Legislators and Administrators: Complex Relationships Complicated by Term Limits

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 57-89

State legislators’ relationships with administrators have received scant attention in the literature despite the importance of these relationships for delivery of public services. We explored whether or not the legislator-administrator relationship in one professional state legislature resembles Congress’s oversight of federal agencies. We also assessed whether or not term limits changed this relationship. Our findings indicate that monitoring state agencies was a low priority for this legislature, and it dropped even lower after term limits were implemented. More specifically, we found some institutional roles to be associated with legislators placing a higher priority on monitoring, especially before term limits, whereas some individual motives were associated with a lower priority, especially after term limits. Legislators exhibited more confusion about the process of monitoring after term limits.


Matthew Hayes, Matthew V. Hibbing, and Tracy Sulkin

Redistricting, Responsiveness, and Issue Attention

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 91-115

We explored the extent to which legislators respond to redistricting-induced demographic shifts in their constituencies. Our analyses focused on the behavior of members of the House of Representatives who served in the terms preceding and following the redistricting that took place in the early 2000s (namely, the 107th and 108th Congresses). We investigated how demographic shifts relate to the content of legislators’ subsequent agendas (the legislation that members introduce and cosponsor) and the nature of members’ voting patterns (their interest group voting scores). Our results indicate that responsiveness is widespread, but important variation exists in the patterns for agenda activities and roll-call voting.

Online Appendix


Brian M. Harward and Kenneth W. Moffett

The Calculus of Cosponsorship in the U.S. Senate

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 117-43

We investigated why a legislator would be willing to vote “yea” on final passage of a bill but would choose not to cosponsor that bill. We tested a series of hypotheses regarding the cosponsorship decisions of individual senators, using a dataset that includes every major initiative that was introduced and received a floor vote in the Senate between 1975 and 2000. We found that senators are more likely to cosponsor bills when their preferences diverge from the Senate median but are closer to those of the bill’s sponsor. Also, senators are more likely to cosponsor bills when they sponsor a higher number of bills overall, when they become more connected with colleagues, and when their constituents increase demand for legislation within particular policy areas. Senators are less likely to cosponsor bills if they received a higher percentage of the general election vote in their most recent election.


Volume XXXV, Number 2

May 2010




Edward H. Stiglitz and Barry R. Weingast

Agenda Control in Congress: Evidence from Cutpoint Estimates and Ideal Point Uncertainty
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 157-86

This article develops two new tests of partisan and nonpartisan theories of lawmaking based on cutpoint estimates and measures of uncertainty about ideal point estimates. Theories of congressional organization make explicit predictions about the absence of cutpoints in certain intervals of the policy space. We test these theories with new cutpoint estimates and exploit the fact that the ideal points of members located far from the density of cutpoints are necessarily estimated with less precision. We validate our empirical approach through simulations, and we test three models of congressional organization using House roll call data from the 86th through the 110th Congresses (1959–2008). We find strong evidence of partisan agenda control. Our findings exhibit modest differences from the results predicted by Cox and McCubbins’s party cartel theory: negative agenda control increases over time and is negatively correlated with the size of the blockout region.



Susan M. Miller and L. Marvin Overby

Parties, Preferences, and Petitions: Discharge Behavior in the Modern House

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 187-210

Although discharge petitions lie at the confluence of personal preferences, committee prerogatives, and party leadership in Congress, these procedures have received little scholarly scrutiny. We capitalize on the public nature of petition signatures since 1993 to examine the behavior of the most cross-pressured members in discharge battles: bill sponsors and cosponsors belonging to the majority party who personally prefer the bills they have sponsored but who face party pressure not to sign the petitions that threaten the leadership’s control of the legislative agenda. After controlling for personal preferences, we find a statistically significant partisan effect in the U.S. House, which further illuminates the "Where’s the party?" debate.


Jesse Richman

The Logic of Legislative Leadership: Preferences, Challenges, and the Speaker’s Powers

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 211-34

Principal agent theory implies that legislators will delegate power to a leader only when they need the leader’s help and the leader can be expected to provide satisfactory help if granted power. This study is the first to evaluate the implied interaction between legislators’ need for help and the degree to which legislators and leaders have similar preferences. By analyzing the Speaker’s powers in the U.S. states, I arrived at three key conclusions. First, institutional leadership power responds to the interaction between preference alignment and policymaking challenges. Traditionally expected effects only appear when both alignment and challenges are relatively high. Second, professionalization causes weaker leadership powers. Finally, electoral competition correlates with stronger appointment, committee, and resource powers, but weaker procedural powers.


Joy Langston

Governors and "Their" Deputies: New Legislative Principals in Mexico

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 235-58

Many studies on legislatures around the world have not detected a regional voting dimension. Yet governors are often important political figures and can exert strong influence on state politicians. From an analysis of the Mexican legislature, I determine that governors hold important resources that ambitious politicians need in a system with no consecutive reelection. Mexican governors use their power over federal deputies to prod their agents, the caucus leaders, into working for their states’ interests on fiscally relevant issues, especially the annual budget. On all other issues, the governors delegate their deputies’ votes to the party’s legislative leadership.


Matthew S. Levendusky and Jeremy C. Pope

Measuring Aggregate-Level Ideological Heterogeneity

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 259-82

Ideological heterogeneity is a key variable for the study of legislative and electoral politics. Scholars have long recognized that members with more ideologically heterogeneous constituencies behave differently than members with more homogeneous ones. Empirical tests of these theories, however, have typically been stymied by a lack of appropriate measures. We corrected this shortcoming by developing a measurement model for ideological heterogeneity, and we used our method to generate estimates for the 50 U.S. states and 435 congressional districts. Beyond the specific results presented here, a key contribution of our model is its flexibility: our technique can be used to produce similar estimates in a variety of contexts.



David R. Smith and Thomas L. Brunell

Special Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives: A General Election Barometer?

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 283-98

Vacancies in the U.S. House of Representatives are filled using special elections. These elections occur off the usual American electoral cycle, and their results are routinely portrayed by the American mass media as indications of what to expect in the next general election. We examined the predictive power of special elections results with respect to the general election outcomes for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1900 to 2008. We found that special elections that yield a change in partisan control do have predictive power regarding general election results.



Volume XXXV, Number 3

August 2010




Jason M. Roberts

The Development of Special Orders and Special Rules in the U.S. House, 1881–1937

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 307–36

The modern Committee on Rules plays a critical role in structuring the agenda of the U.S. House of Representatives. In fact, resolutions from the Committee on Rules are the primary means through which controversial legislation reaches the House floor. But the Committee on Rules did not play a role in shaping the floor agenda until the 1880s and, despite intense scrutiny of episodes such as the institution of the Reed rules and the revolt against Speaker Cannon, our understanding of the role of the Committee on Rules is limited and skewed heavily toward the post–World War II era. This limitation is unfortunate, because special rules play a starring role in major theories of legislative organization. In this article, I present analysis of the usage and historical development of special rules in the House, and I offer findings from my empirical analysis of the determinants of rule choice from 1881 to 1937. A nuanced interrogation of new data on special rules in this era reveals support for committee specialization and conditional party government as motives for rule choice in this era.



Self-selection or Socialization? A Dynamic Analysis of Committee Member Preferences

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 337–59

Theories on committee power assert that legislators self-select to committees and therefore have preferences regarding the policy issues under the committees’ jurisdictions that differ from the preferences of noncommittee members. I argue that preference outliers may be shaped both by processes of self-selection and by endogenous processes within committees. Contrary to previous examinations of committee member preferences, the study utilizes a dynamic approach to examine the development of preferences over time in order to separate self-selection from endogenous processes. Analyzing the development in the spending preferences of 859 Danish local politicians over three different election periods, I find that politicians increasingly prefer spending on their committees’ jurisdictions over time, but their preferences do not change to the same extent on policy issues beyond their committees’ jurisdictions. The findings point to the importance of endogenous processes in committees. Hence, committees may be outliers for very different reasons than those proposed by mainstream theory.


Stephen Jessee and Neil Malhotra

Are Congressional Leaders Middlepersons or Extremists? Yes.

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 361–92

Influential theories of legislative organization predict that congressional leaders will be selected from the center of their parties. Yet previous research has generally rejected the “middleperson hypothesis,” finding leaders to be extremists. We challenged these findings by testing more-appropriate null hypotheses via Monte Carlo simulation. We found that congressional leaders (and leadership candidates as a whole) tend to be closer to their party’s median than would occur by chance, but leaders also tend to be selected from the left of the median for Democrats and to the right for Republicans. Compared to the pool of announced candidates for leadership positions, winners are not ideologically distinctive. This result suggests that factors affecting the ideology of leaders tend to operate more at the candidate emergence stage.


L J Zigerell

Senator Opposition to Supreme Court Nominations: Reference Dependence on the Departing Justice

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 393–416

Research indicates that senators evaluate U.S. Supreme Court nominations on two ideological dimensions: the distance between themselves and the nominee, and the potential effect confirmation would have on the Court median. My analysis of nominations from 1968 to 2006 provides evidence that senators are also influenced by the ideological contrast between the nominee and the departing justice.


Boris Shor, Christopher Berry, and Nolan McCarty

A Bridge to Somewhere: Mapping State and Congressional Ideology on a Cross-institutional Common Space

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 417–48

Researchers face two major problems when applying ideal point estimation techniques to state legislatures. First, longitudinal roll-call data are scarce. Second, even when such data exist, scaling ideal points within a single state is an inadequate approach. No comparisons can be made between these estimates and those for other state legislatures or for Congress. Our project provides a solution. We exploit a new comparative dataset of state legislative roll calls to generate ideal points for legislators. Taking advantage of the fact that state legislators sometimes go on to serve in Congress, we create a common ideological scale. Using these bridge actors, we estimate state legislative ideal points in congressional common space for 11 states. We present our results and illustrate how these scores can be used to address important topics in state and legislative politics.



Volume XXXV, Number 4

November 2010




Antoine Yoshinaka, Gail MCElroy, and Shaun Bowler

The Appointment of Rapporteurs in the European Parliament

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 457–86

Committee rapporteurs are central to decision making in many multiparty legislatures. It is not clear, however, whether these rapporteurs are best characterized as partisan animals or technical experts seeking consensus in nonmajoritarian institutions. We addressed this question by examining which members of the European Parliament become repeat rapporteurs. Using an original dataset comprising all committee reports from the 4th  and 5th European Parliaments (1994–2004), we found that the report allocation process provides a way to pursue partisan policy goals within a multiparty, consensual institution that rewards both coalition building and expertise.


Ryan J. Vander Wielen

The Influence of Conference Committees on Policy Outcomes

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 487–518

This article examines the effect that the spatial location of conference committees relative to the parent bodies has on congressional policy outcomes. The article presents a theoretical model proposing that conferees choose policies that maximize their policy utility subject to the constraint of gaining House and Senate majorities on the conference report. I tested the model using conferences on bills associated with votes that generated liberal-conservative divisions. The results confirm that, under specified conditions, conferees pull outcomes away from the parent bodies toward conferee preferences.


Deniz Aksoy

"It Takes a Coalition": Coalition Potential and Legislative Decision Making

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 519–42

This article empirically illustrates the value of coalition formation in legislative bargaining. I argue that legislators’ potential to form powerful coalitions, their coalition potential, is essential to their ability to obtain preferred policy outcomes. Using data on the European Union’s legislative process, I show that coalition potential significantly increases legislators’ success. Moreover, the value of coalition potential depends on the voting rules used to pass legislation. For example, under the unanimity voting rule, the importance of coalition potential is insignificant because of the veto power held by each legislator.


Erik J. Engstrom and William Ewell

The Impact of Unified Party Government on Campaign Contributions

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 543–69

This article examines the connection between unified party government and campaign contributions. Our central argument is that unified party government confers a substantial, but previously overlooked, fundraising advantage to intra-chamber majority parties. We examined data on corporate campaign contributions to U.S. House incumbents and state legislators in 17 different legislative chambers. We found a strong fundraising benefit accruing to intra-chamber majority status across all of these legislatures, but the benefit is heavily conditioned by the presence of unified or divided government. The results offer important implications for our understanding of the financial balance of power in American politics and for the vast scholarly literature on unified party government.


Brian D. Feinstein

The Dynasty Advantage: Family Ties in Congressional Elections

Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXV: 571–98

Political dynasties, families in which multiple members have held elected office, commonly feature in the U.S. Congress. I explored the electoral origins of this phenomenon and determined that members of political dynasties have a significant advantage over first-generation politicians in open-seat House elections. Using an original dataset containing candidate- and district-level covariates for all candidates in open-seat House contests between 1994 and 2006, I found that dynastic politicians enjoy "brand name advantages," giving them a significant edge over comparable nondynastic opponents. In contrast, hypotheses concerning potential advantages stemming from past political experience and fundraising ability yield null results.


Volume XXXVI, Number 1
February 2011


Issue Accountability and the Mass Public
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 5–35
Under what conditions, if any, does the mass electorate hold congressional members accountable for their records on specific issues? We examine this question on the issue of  crime, for which salience has varied substantially and opinion has favored Republicans, and the environment, for which salience has not varied much and voters have favored Democrats. Because different parametric specifications produce divergent findings, we utilize matching analysis in addition to ordinary least squares. The tests suggest that issue accountability exists even controlling for a member’s overall record. However, such accountability depends crucially on issue salience and a member’s partisan affiliation.
Online Appendix

Balancing Competing Demands: Position Taking and Election Proximity in the European Parliament
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 37–70
Parties value unity, yet members of parliament have incentives to deviate from the party line. This article examines how members of the European Parliament (EP) respond to competing demands from national parties and European party groups. We examine ideological shifts within a single parliamentary term to assess how election proximity affects party group cohesion. Our formal model of legislative behavior suggests that when EP elections are proximate, national party delegations shift toward national party positions, thus weakening EP party group cohesion. Our Bayesian item-response analysis of roll calls in the 5th EP supports our theoretical predictions.

Reexamining the Institutional Effects of Term Limits in U.S. State Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly
XXXVI: 71–97
Research on term limits suggests that they have substantial consequences for the power of legislatures vis-à-vis the executive and interest groups and for the relationship between leaders and rank-and-file members within a chamber. Existing work, however, has not accounted for the actual power of relevant state actors. We contribute to this research by examining the effect of term limits on the influence of institutional actors conditional on the existing political power structure in a state. The inclusion of controls for the direct and moderating effect of actual institutional power suggests some significant extensions of previous findings regarding the institutional effects of term limits.
Online Appendix

The Impact of Presidential Campaigning for Congress on Presidential Support in the U.S. House of Representatives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 99–122
Presidential influence is partly a function of the partisan, economic, and international context within which the president governs. Presidents are, however, more than bystanders relying on the political milieu for policy opportunities. Recent scholarship demonstrates that presidents consciously influence this milieu and build political capital by campaigning for congressional candidates. We contribute to this literature by assessing the effects of presidential campaigning on legislative support for two presidents who governed under extremely dissimilar circumstances: Bill Clinton in the 106th Congress and George W. Bush in the 108th Congress. We find evidence of campaign effects on congressional policymaking during both administrations.
Online Appendix

Scaling Policy Preferences from Coded Political Texts
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 123–55
Scholars estimating policy positions from political texts typically code words or sentences and then build left-right policy scales based on the relative frequencies of text units coded into different categories. Here we reexamine such scales and propose a theoretically and linguistically superior alternative based on the logarithm of odds-ratios. We contrast this scale with the current approach of the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP), showing that our proposed logit scale avoids widely acknowledged flaws in previous approaches. We validate the new scale using independent expert surveys. Using existing CMP data, we show how to estimate more distinct policy dimensions, for more years, than has been possible before, and make this dataset publicly available. Finally, we draw some conclusions about the future design of coding schemes for political texts.


Volume XXXVI, Number 2
May 2011


 “Deliberative Disagreement” in U.S. Health Policy Committee Hearings
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 169–98
The exchange of rationales among debate participants is necessary for legitimacy in a deliberative democracy. I show that witnesses in congressional committee hearings tend to use falsifiable rationales when they encounter moderate levels of disagreement and shift to nonfalsifiable rationales when they encounter extreme disagreement. I use data from a coding of hearings testimony on the Medicare program, held between 1990 and 2003, as well as from a survey of participating witnesses measuring their perceptions of disagreement at the hearing. The results identify conditions that enhance falsifiable discourse and help to establish the empirical grounding deliberative democratic theory.

The Effects of Uncontested Elections on Legislator Performance
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 199–229
Political competition lies at the core of representative democracy. Yet, uncompetitive elections and uncontested races are widespread in the United States, particularly at the state level. In this article, we analyze the consequences of uncontested elections on lawmaking activity. Our primary hypothesis is that legislators who run unopposed are less active lawmakers than those who were selected through competitive elections. Studying roll-call vote participation and bill introduction and enactment for most of the U.S. states for 1999–2000, we find that state  legislators elected in unopposed elections perform more poorly compared to their colleagues elected in competitive contests.

Superfluous or Mischievous: Evaluating the Determinants of Government Defeats in Second Chambers
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 231–53
Governments often extol the policy refining functions of second chambers, but in bicameral parliamentary systems, governments must balance these policy refinement functions with their ability to pass legislation in the second chamber. I examine government defeats in the second chamber, suggesting they are a function of the cost and the likelihood of defeat. Using an original dataset, I find that strong veto authority creates incentives for governments to act strategically to avoid defeats (even when facing a friendly chamber), while opposition majorities and a weaker ability to sanction members who deviate from their party’s position increase the likelihood of defeat.

Evidence of a Local Incumbency Advantage
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 255–80
Incumbents are highly likely to win reelection at all levels of government, but scholars continue to debate the extent to which serving in office has a causal effect on winning. For city council elections it is unclear whether or not we should predict a causal effect at all. City councilors may not regularly seek reelection, and any apparent advantage could be entirely attributable to preexisting qualities rather than incumbency. This article uses a regression discontinuity design to provide evidence that city council incumbents are more likely to run and win their next elections because they served a term in office.

Issue Voting and Partisan Defections in Congressional Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 281–307
In every election cycle the fate of some candidates is determined by partisans who defect from their usual voting habits to cast a ballot for the candidate of the opposing party. Defections in congressional elections have been attributed to incumbency, presidential approval, partisan strength, and factors related to individual voters. Our systematic assessment of the impact of issues on voter defections shows that party-owned issues and performance issues associated favorably with one party affect the likelihood of partisan defections. The results suggest that congressional candidates can use issues to draw supporters away from the opposing party and to keep partisan voters loyal.

Is Timing Everything? Retirement and Seat Maintenance in the U.S. House of Representatives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 309–30
Literature on open-seat elections has focused on the individual attributes of a candidate and/or institutional arrangements. When a seat becomes an open contest could be a significant indicator as to how likely the incumbent party is able to maintain the seat. Examining data on open U.S. House seats from 1996 to 2008, we use OLS regression and logistic regression analysis, finding that time is a significant predictor for incumbent party fund-raising and seat maintenance. We conclude that political parties have an interest in encouraging members of Congress to announce their retirement early in the election cycle.


Volume XXXVI, Number 3
August 2011


Electoral Institutions, the Personal Vote, and Legislative Organization
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 339–61
What is the relationship between electoral institutions and the internal organization of legislatures? Existing research on the U.S. Congress suggests that electoral incentives shaped by the candidate-centered nature of congressional elections explain the emergence of strong committees in that legislature. Exploring the issue from a comparative perspective, it is argued that the impact of ballot structure on committee system structure is dependent on how legislators cultivate personal votes. Committees will be stronger when legislators supply fiscal legislative particularism (pork), but weaker when legislators cultivate support by delivering extra-legislative constituency service. Statistical analysis, combining original data on committee design in 39 democratic legislatures with measures of ballot structure and mechanism to cultivate a personal vote (MCPV), confirms the expectation.

Distinguishing Between Influences on Brazilian Legislative Behavior
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 363–96
Ideal point estimators hold the promise of identifying multiple dimensions of political disagreement as they are manifested in legislative voting. However, standard ideal point estimates do not distinguish between ideological motivations and voting inducements from parties, coalitions, or the executive. In this article we describe a general approach for hierarchically identifying an ideological dimension using an auxiliary source of data. In the case we consider, we use an anonymous survey of Brazilian legislators to identify party positions on a left-right ideology dimension.We then use this data to distinguish ideological motivations from other determinants of roll-call behavior for eight presidential-legislative periods covering more than 20 years of Brazilian politics. We find that there exists an important nonideological government-opposition dimension, with the entrance and exit of political parties from the governing coalition appearing as distinct shifts in ideal point on this second dimension. We conjecture that the Brazilian president’s control over politically important resources is the source of this dimension of conflict, which has recently become far more important in explaining roll-call voting than the ideological dimension.

Party Pressure in the U.S. State Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 397–422
We extend Ansolabehere, Snyder, and Stewart’s (2001) method of measuring party influence over roll-call voting to the comparative state legislative context. Examining 27 state lower chambers, we find that overall parties exert detectable influence on 44% of all roll calls and 69% of close votes, but that the incidence of party influence varies strongly across chambers. Taking advantage of the comparative leverage the state context brings, we find that party influence responds significantly to measures of legislative careerism and state socioeconomic diversity, with majority size playing some role. The effect of preference polarization is complicated and conditioned by challenges facing the legislature, and we find results both challenging and conditionally supporting the conditional party government account.

Networks in the Legislative Arena: How Group Dynamics Affect Cosponsorship
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 423–60
In this study, we explore the determinants of cosponsorship activity within state legislatures. Utilizing a social dynamic framework, we develop and test a model of the interplay of the activities of sponsorship and cosponsorship that includes both individual-level and social network characteristics as determinants of agenda-setting behavior; the latter demonstrating how collaboration and mutual interests shape the agenda-setting process. We find several consistent factors that influence the frequency of cosponsorship activity: (1) ideological distance, (2) proximity of legislators’ districts, (3) homophily (similar characteristics such as race, gender, and ethnicity), and (4) transitivity (the idea that friends of my friends are also my friends).

Constituency Congruency and Candidate Competition in U.S. House Elections
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 461–82
Research on candidate competition has focused on how much context matters in emergence decisions and election outcomes. If a candidate has previously held elected office, one additional consideration that may influence entry decisions is the relative degree of overlap between the candidate’s current constituency and the “new” set of voters she is seeking to represent. Using GIS software, we derive a measure of the challenger’s personal vote by focusing on constituency congruency between state legislative and congressional districts. Results suggest state legislators are more likely to run for a seat in the U.S. House if constituency congruency is relatively high.


Volume XXXVI, Number 4
November 2011


The Single-Party Dictator’s Dilemma: Information in Elections without Opposition
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 491–530

The literature on authoritarian institutions points to nationwide elections as a mechanism for learning about the preferences of citizens. In using elections in this way, however, authoritarians face a trade-off between gathering reliable information and guaranteeing electoral victory. In this article, we explore how single-party regimes manage this trade-off and the particular types of information available to them. Using candidate-level data from Vietnam, we demonstrate that single-party regimes, in particular, forsake information on overall regime support and strength of opposition in favor of information on the popularity of local notables and the compliance of local officials with central mandates. In addition, we show that ex ante electioneering is less risky than ex post fraud at achieving these goals.

Using Cosponsorship to Estimate Ideal Points
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 531–65
Ideal point estimates based on roll-call vote results have provided leverage for a variety of theory testing efforts. Recently, scholars have suggested using cosponsorship data as a proxy for roll-call votes. Conceptually similar to roll-call votes, cosponsorship data are appealing for a variety of reasons. However, the data-generating process for cosponsorship is untheorized and little studied. We examine the properties of ideal point estimates from cosponsorship data. We find that the ability to estimate ideal points from cosponsorship data is contingent on the underlying data-generating process; reliance on such measures requires strong and often unrealistic assumptions.

The Influence of Lobbying Activity in State Legislatures: Evidence from Wisconsin
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 567–89
This study attempts to assess the degree of influence interest groups can exert on the state policy process, specifically via their lobbying activities. The analysis uses data from the 2005–06 Wisconsin Legislative Session to assess the association between lobbying activity and legislative outcomes in one state legislature. The study finds a direct association between lobbying activities and bill outcomes, while also exploring the potential influences of both key political actors and public attention. Public attention is found to reduce the effects of lobbying efforts, suggesting that lobbying is most effective when focused on less salient issues.

Female and Minority Judicial Nominees: President’s Delight and Senators’ Dismay?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 591–619
Female and minority judicial nominations take longer and are less likely to be confirmed, yet presidents eagerly seek such nominations. I account for this puzzle by building a model in which senators face costs for opposing female and minority nominees. I predict that such nominations are more likely when the gridlock interval is large. Using appellate nominations from 1977 to 2004, I find that Republican presidents are more likely to pursue these nominations during periods of high gridlock. Furthermore, accounting for the gridlock interval erases the differences in confirmation duration and success between female/minority nominees and white male nominees.

It’s Not You, It’s Me: Determinants of Voluntary Legislative Turnover in Canada
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVI: 621–43
The Canadian federal parliament is unique among Westminster parliamentary democracies due to the unusually high level of voluntary and involuntary MP turnover that occurs at each general election. This article builds on existing research to test the hypothesis that the MP career duration is related to MPs’ expectations about parliamentary roles, insofar as voluntary turnover is concerned. Data on MPs drawn from historical records collected by the Library of Parliament and from surveys conducted in 1993 and 20011 are used to develop an event history model which estimates the hazard of voluntary career termination when different parliamentary roles are taken into consideration. Findings suggest that a number of individual factors play a role in voluntary turnover, most notably that MPs who enter Parliament hoping to affect policy are the most likely to move on.


Volume XXXVII, Number 1
February 2012


Does the Numerical Underrepresentation of the Working Class in Congress Matter?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 5–34
Working-class citizens have been numerically underrepresented in policymaking institutions throughout most of America’s history. Little is known, however, about the political consequences of this enduring feature of our democratic system. This essay examines the relationship between legislators’ class backgrounds and their votes on economic policy in the House of Representatives during the twentieth century. Like ordinary Americans, representatives from working-class occupations exhibit more liberal economic preferences than other legislators, especially those from profit-oriented professions. These findings provide the first evidence of a link between the descriptive and substantive representation of social classes in the United States.

A Gender Gap in Policy Representation in the U.S. Congress?
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 35–66
In the first article to evaluate the equality of dyadic policy representation experienced by women, we assess the congruence between U.S. House members’ roll-call votes and the policy preferences of their female and male constituents. Employing two measures of policy representation, we do not find a gender gap in dyadic policy representation. However, we uncover a sizeable gender gap favoring men in districts represented by Republicans, and a similarly sizeable gap favoring women in districts represented by Democrats. A Democratic majority further improves women’s dyadic representation relative to men, but having a female representative (descriptive representation) does not.

The Strategic Use of Legislative Voting Procedures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 67–97
Legislative votes can be taken by roll call—noting the position of each individual member—or by some form of indication (sitting or standing, shouting yea or nay, etc.)—noting only an aggregate outcome. Cameral rules define one method of voting as the standard operating Procedure and how to invoke any alternative voting methods. We develop a series of hypotheses related to position taking to explain why, when procedures would typically lead to a vote taken by indication, legislators choose to vote by roll call—a means that makes it much easier for actors outside the chamber to observe the positions taken by individual legislators and partisan blocs. With data from Argentina and Mexico, we test these hypotheses regarding the strategic choice of vote procedures and their relationship to observed party unity.

Public Approval of U.S. State Legislatures
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 99–116
The determinants of public approval for state legislatures have not received much attention, but one important finding is that more professionalized legislatures experience lower levels of public support. We argue that this result is an artifact of limited data and problematic model specifications. Analyzing a large national survey sample, we demonstrate that the negative relationship holds primarily for conservatives and to a lesser extent for moderates but not liberals. Additionally, we find that legislative approval in states with term limits and ballot initiatives is no different than in states without these institutions.

The Strategic Use of Prisons in Partisan Gerrymandering
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 117–34
The census data used to redraw legislative districts counts the country’s nearly 2 million prisoners in the location of their incarceration, rather than their previous place of residence. By drawing these phantom populations into districts that lean heavily toward the majority party, legislators can free up eligible voters from those districts to be distributed among neighboring marginal ones, thereby increasing that party’s likelihood of winning additional seats in the state legislature. An analysis of state senate district finds that prison populations shift systematically from districts controlled by one party to districts controlled by the other following a switch in partisan control.


Volume XXXVII, Number 2
May 2012


Mapping Dimensions of Conflict at the Federal Convention of 1787
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 145–74
Previous work on the Federal Convention of 1787 hypothesized multiple dimensions of conflict. We evaluate the dimensionality of conflict using a new method for estimating state delegation positions and proposals that incorporates the many divided votes at the convention. The results suggest that three dimensions are adequate for most analyses and the first dimension—proportional representation in the legislature—the most important. Finally, we examine how the agenda unfolds by mapping changes to the status quo throughout the convention. We conclude that, despite the lack of parties, the nature of the conflict is quite organized with a low number of dimensions.

Party Size and Constituency Representation: Evidence from the 19th-Century U.S. House of Representatives
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 175–97
Research on congressional parties assumes, but has not directly shown, that party size affects individual members’ calculations. Drawing on a key case from the nineteenth-century House—the secession-driven Republican hegemony of 1861—this article explores the hypothesis that party voting not only declines but also becomes more strongly linked to constituency factors as relative party size increases. The analysis reveals that the jump in party size coincides with (1) a decrease in party voting among individual continuing members, (2) a strengthening association between some constituency factors and party voting, and (3) patterns of decline in individual party voting that are explained in part by constituency measures.

Legislative Behavior in Romania: The Effect of the 2008 Romanian Electoral Reform
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 199–224
This article analyzes the impact of electoral rules on legislators’ rate of vote defection from their party position in legislatures while accounting for how party leadership strength mediates this impact. To this end it looks at the effect of the 2008 Romanian electoral reform. The reform shifted the electoral system from a closed-list proportional representation to one in which all candidates run in single-member districts. The analysis finds that because party leaders have maintained their leverage intact, the impact of the reform was minimal, with legislators being more likely to defect in less important votes only, in which party leaders allow defection. Also, after the reform legislators are more likely to use other means to impress their voters, such as legislative initiation and cabinet questioning. These forms of behavior are more accepted by party leaders.

Strategic Constituency Manipulation in State Legislative Redistricting
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 225–50
Scholars often identify gerrymanders by examining changes to districts’ partisan composition. However, advantages can also be gained by systematically varying the extent to which incumbents’ constituencies remain the same. In this article, I examine the post-2000 redistricting in 22 state legislatures. I find that parties, particularly in legislatures with low turnover levels, gain advantages from constituency manipulation, but that these advantages are counteracted by geographic redistricting regulations. Lastly, I find that ostensibly bipartisan outcomes nonetheless feature partisan constituency manipulation. These findings echo a growing literature that analyzes the geographic aspects of gerrymandering and highlight how turnover patterns motivate redistricting strategies.

Representatives’ Attitudes Toward Citizen Protests in Sweden: The Impact of Ideology, Parliamentary Position, and Experiences
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 251–68
What affects political representatives’ attitudes toward citizen protests? We test the impact of political representatives’ left-right ideology, parliamentary position, and earlier experience of citizen protests. Using data from a pioneering survey covering all local political representatives in Sweden (n = 9,101, response rate 70%), we examine attitudes toward controversial noninstitutionalized forms of citizen protests. The results show that representatives to the right show considerably lower protest acceptance than those to the left. Representatives in office show significantly lower levels of acceptance than those of the opposition. Finally, the results show that representatives with more protest experience show higher protest acceptance.


Volume XXXVII, Number 3
August 2012


Electoral Security of Members of the U.S. House, 1900–2006
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 277–304
Previous studies have documented that the increase in the incumbency advantage in the 1960s did not decrease the probability of defeat of incumbents in the U.S. House. I define a method for establishing bounds on the probability of incumbent defeat and find that it decreases significantly in the 1950s, before the rise of the incumbency advantage. Incumbency advantage does not have a direct relationship with incumbent defeat rates, raising questions about the use of the incumbency advantage as a means for making inferences about the electoral security of incumbents.

Legislative Term Limits and Fiscal Policy Performance
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 305–28
Do term limits impede the ability of legislators to effectively set fiscal policy? To address this question, I examine state bond ratings from 1996 to 2009. Bond ratings serve as a valuable indicator of a state’s fiscal performance, gauging the risk and uncertainty that investors face when buying these bonds. In addition, bond ratings are important policy ends in themselves. High bond ratings make it easier for states to borrow and raise revenue, while lowering interest rates. Results from analyses of “Term-Limitedness” and legislator experience suggest that term limits negatively impact a state’s fiscal performance, leading to lower bond ratings.

Multimember Districts’ Effect on Collaboration between U.S. State Legislators
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 329–53
In this article, I demonstrate that multimember districts form a basis for collaboration between two legislators. In order to maximize the limited incumbency advantages they possess, legislators from multimember districts form coalitions in an effort to generate greater credit-claiming opportunities and policy benefits for their district. In order to test this conception, I utilize a natural experiment and an opportunity to observe institutional change in North Carolina’s elimination of multimember districts during the 2000–2002 redistricting cycle. Coupled with cross-sectional analysis of several states that use both single-member and multimember districts, empirical evidence strongly corroborates my conception of multimember districts as a basis for collaboration between representatives.

Cultivating Votes in Rural Chile
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 355–88
In Chile’s two-member legislative districts we show there are two groups of swing voters, one group for the first seat won by the governing coalition, another for the second. We build a model that allows us to identify the relative prevalence of these voters across communities. Using data on the allocation of discretionary agricultural loans, we find that communities with relatively many voters pivotal for the first seat receive more loans than they otherwise would have, but we find no systematic advantage for districts that are pivotal for the second seat.


Book Review

Review of The Handbook of National Legislatures, by M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 389–96
Comparative legislative studies are often comparative in name only. Most on-going research on legislative politics outside the United States involves analysis of just one case. The primary reason for the narrow focus of most comparative legislative studies is the arduous demand of collecting cross-national data. In this context, Fish and Kroenig’s (2009) Legislative Powers Survey is especially welcome. Fish and Kroenig collected data on every national legislature in the world and have released a reference handbook, a complete dataset, and an index of parliamentary power. Students of comparative politics should welcome this contribution, but be aware of its limitations. In this essay, I review their work.

A Response to Desposato
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXXVII: 397–401
We are grateful to Scott Desposato for his thoughtful review of The Handbook of National Legislatures and the comments he offers on the Parliamentary Powers Index (PPI), the tool that we developed to measure the strength of the national legislature for every country in the world. We agree with many of Desposato’s points, but would also like to respond to some of the criticisms.

Published by the Comparative Legislative Research Center,
328 Schaeffer Hall, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1409, U.S.A.

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