How Do Committee Assignments Facilitate Majority Party Power? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in the Arkansas State Legislature

40 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012

See all articles by David E. Broockman

David E. Broockman

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Daniel M. Butler

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 16, 2012

Abstract

We use a natural experiment in Arkansas’ state legislature to reexamine how the committee assignment process facilitates legislative party power. In contrast to the view that parties use committee assignments as significant carrots and sticks to enforce party discipline, we find that the rewards legislators reap from winning their preferred assignments appear meager and that party discipline prevails at typical levels in Arkansas despite that parties do not control assignments there. However, in contrast to other legislatures, disloyal legislators tend to fill powerful committees in Arkansas, suggesting that parties do stack powerful committees with loyalists in legislatures where they can.

Keywords: Legislative committees

Suggested Citation

Broockman, David E. and Butler, Daniel M., How Do Committee Assignments Facilitate Majority Party Power? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in the Arkansas State Legislature (August 16, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2130697 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2130697

David E. Broockman

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Daniel M. Butler (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

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