Legislative Style and the Dynamics of Congressional Careers

39 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013

See all articles by Tracy Sulkin

Tracy Sulkin

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science

William T. Bernhard

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Mathematics

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Members of Congress face a variety of choices about how to allocate their time and effort. Collectively, these decisions comprise what we call an MC’s “legislative style.” We take the first steps toward defining and analyzing legislative style, focusing on the behavior of all members of the House of Representatives who served in the 101st-110th Congresses (1989-2008). We gather data on a large number of activities undertaken by MCs, categorize these into indices that we view as components of legislative style, and then use model-based clustering approaches to uncover how these components cluster together. Our results reveal that MCs' legislative styles are predictable and relatively stable across time. These findings have important implications for our understanding of legislators' careers, the quality of constituency representation, and the nature of policy outcomes.

Keywords: Congress, agendas, activity, cluster

Suggested Citation

Sulkin, Tracy and Bernhard, William T., Legislative Style and the Dynamics of Congressional Careers (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper, American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2300335

Tracy Sulkin (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science ( email )

702 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
United States
217-244-8413 (Phone)

William T. Bernhard

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Mathematics ( email )

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