Tag Archives: legislatures

Formal and Perceived Leadership Power in U.S. State Legislatures

Perhaps formal leadership powers have one set of effects, whereas perceived leadership power has a different set of effects. Those who study Congress have engaged in long arguments about the importance (or lack thereof) of Congressional leaders in influencing outcomes. Among others, see Cox and McCubbins 1993 and 2005, Krehbiel 1993 and 1998, Binder 1996, […]

Party Power or Preferences? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from American State Legislatures

Cox, Kousser, and McCubbins want to show that agenda control matters. They did. But without meaning to, they also showed that persuasive leaders and party cohesion matter even more. Consider why some bills can get through a legislature but others can’t. Perhaps (1) legislator preferences are all that matters; liberal legislators vote for liberal bills […]

The Electoral Costs of Party Loyalty in Congress

Voters dislike partisans more than ideologues. Yesterday, I wrote about Ansolabehere and Jones’s article in AJPS showing that voters really do hold members of Congress accountable for their voting record in Congress. On the very next page in AJPS, we find another article on the same theme. But Carson et al. want to change the […]

Constituents’ Responses to Congressional Roll-Call Voting

Voters really do hold members of Congress accountable for their voting records. Turns out that democracy works, at least when it comes to voters holding members of Congress accountable for their voting record. For accountability to happen, we need to see three things: (1) Voters need to have specific opinions on specific issues before Congress; […]

Broad Bills or Particularistic Policy? Historical Patterns in American State Legislatures

If you want your legislators to pass general policies that benefit the state as a whole, pay them less, make districts bigger, and strive for partisan balance. If you want your legislators to pass pork and other district-focused bills, pay them more, make districts smaller, and promote one-party government. When will state legislators take on […]

No Middle Ground: How Informal Party Organizations Control Nominations and Polarize Legislatures

Parties control the public behavior of their office holders by acting as gatekeepers to political office The debate on the influence of political parties on the political process until recently has been restricted to parties in government. ¬†Scholars have focused their debate primarily¬†on the impact of party on the actions of a legislator in the […]

Delegating Direct Democracy: Interparty Legislative Competition and the Adoption of the Initiative in the American States

When a minority party gains tenuous control of the legislature, or when a majority feels that it might become the minority soon, then legislators gain an incentive to weaken the legislature by empowering the median voter. Today, voters in 24 states can make policy directly through the initiative process. In most of these states, the […]