Examining the Electoral Connection Across Time

Posted: 12 May 2011

Date Written: June 2011


Mayhew's (1974) thesis regarding the “electoral connection� and its impact on legislative behavior has become the theoretical foundation for much of the research on the contemporary U.S. Congress. Recently, scholar To assess these claims more systematically, we consider four conditions that serve as the bus have begun to suggest that the Mayhewian electoral incentive may apply to politics in earlier congressional eras as well.ilding blocks of the electoral connection—ambition, autonomy, responsiveness, and accountability. Through a detailed review of the literature on electoral politics in Congress, we discover that all four conditions were present in a strict sense as far back as the Progressive Era. Moreover, considerable evidence suggests that a weaker, less formalized version of the electoral connection existed even earlier in American history. We conclude by briefly discussing the implications of these findings on the rapidly growing literature examining the historical and institutional evolution of Congress.

Suggested Citation

Carson, Jamie L. and Jenkins, Jeffery A., Examining the Electoral Connection Across Time (June 2011). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 14, pp. 25-46, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1839104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-030310-221852

Jamie L. Carson (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

Jeffery A. Jenkins

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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