Partisan Signaling and Agenda Control in the U.S. House of Representatives

22 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 26 Aug 2009

See all articles by Jamie L. Carson

Jamie L. Carson

University of Georgia

Michael Crespin

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Anthony Madonna

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Theories of partisan influence in Congress suggest that the leadership can influence vote choices and legislative outcomes. Cox and McCubbins (2005) have theorized and Cox and Poole (2002) have found that party strength is most evident on procedural matters. In this paper, we take advantage of a new source of data providing updates from the Majority Leader’s Office that at times indicate the leadership’s positions on upcoming legislation and scheduled floor votes. Utilizing these data from recent congresses, we seek to offer a more nuanced explanation of voting in the U.S. House of Representatives. Whereas others have implicitly assumed that the party influences all procedural votes, our preliminary findings suggest that not all procedural votes are created equal. In fact, these floor updates indicate that the majority party offers direction on some procedural votes (e.g., ordering the previous question and special rules), but not on others (e.g., the motion to recommit). Our findings have direct implications for individual voting behavior and legislative outcomes in Congress.

Keywords: Congress, agenda control, party influence

Suggested Citation

Carson, Jamie L. and Crespin, Michael and Madonna, Anthony, Partisan Signaling and Agenda Control in the U.S. House of Representatives (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450624

Jamie L. Carson (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Michael Crespin

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 830688, GR 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Anthony Madonna

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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