Working Relationships: Content, Characteristics, and Cosponsorship in the U.S. House of Representatives
27 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
Theories of position-taking, policy-making, and log-rolling all suggest that cosponsorship patterns should vary across policy topics, yet studies of cosponsorship have ignored this potential variation. We assess this variation using a network analysis of cosponsorship in the 108th U.S. House. We find that network polarization varies significantly across policy topics, and that network polarization is often distinct from partisan polarization. Likewise, policy topics vary in their resemblance of small-world networks--an important predictor of legislative success. We show that the link between legislator centrality and legislative success only occurs in policy networks that resemble small worlds. The results suggest that analyses pooling policy topics will overlook important heterogeneity in patterns of cosponsorship and may overlook corresponding heterogeneity in the effects of these patterns.
Keywords: cosponsorship, networks
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