When Loyalty is Tested: Do Party Leaders Use Committee Assignments as Rewards?
30 Pages Posted: 8 May 2014
Date Written: May 5, 2014
Theories of parties in Congress contend that one tool that party leaders possess to induce loyalty among rank-and-file members is control over committee assignments, but conventional tests of this linkage have failed to distinguish loyalty from simply voting one’s preferences in accordance with party leaders. We conceptualize loyal legislators as voting with party leaders when it matters despite having preferences far from the mainstream of their party. Testing this strong definition of loyalty on committee assignment data for 1993-2007, we show that the members most likely to achieve plum committee assignments are those who both deviate ideologically from their party and support their party on the subset of votes for which party leaders have taken positions in floor speeches.
Keywords: Congress, Committees, Loyalty, Ideal Point Estimation
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