JOHN R. HIBBING
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.


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