The Value of Majority Status in the U.S. House
20 Pages Posted: 7 May 2009
Date Written: May 1999
A key premise of partisan theories of congressional organization is that majority status confers substantial procedural advantages. In a recent paper (Cox and Magar 1999), we took advantage of the Republicans’ historic victory in the midterm elections of 1994 to assess the value of majority status in terms of lost contributions from access-seeking political action committees. This paper subjects our previous cross-temporal analyses to cross-sectional confirmation. Our results indicate that the Democrats suffered about a $60,000 loss per member in business receipts after losing their majority - even controlling for the usual factors cited in the literature as affecting members’ ability to raise money (e.g., committee assignments and voting record). Although it is difficult to disentangle the impact of partisan influences from constituent pressures and personal ideology in many areas (e.g., roll call voting), the election of 1994 provides a good opportunity to measure the value of majority status in facilitating fund-raising - and the results are clearly in line with current partisan theories of congressional organization.
Keywords: US Congress, parties, campaign contributions
JEL Classification: D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation