Pen Pals: Legislator Characteristics and Collaboration in Congressional Letter-Marking Networks

38 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2016

See all articles by Nicole Kalaf-Hughes

Nicole Kalaf-Hughes

Bowling Green State University - Department of Politcal Science

Russell Mills

Bowling Green State University - Department of Politcal Science

Date Written: June 13, 2016

Abstract

The ban on earmarks in Congress has lead to an increase in the practice of letter-marking, where members of Congress explicitly ask (in writing) the head of an administrative agency to retain, or allocate, distributive benefits in their districts. These letters can come from an individual MC a group of MCs. While previous work on the role of group dynamics in Congress has examined the role of traditional factors, such as ideological distance and shared partisanship in the more formal cosponsorship networks (e.g. McPherson et al. 2001; Gross 2008; Zhang et al. 2008), no scholarship has examined the structure of these more informal letter-marking networks. Using a novel data set of Congressional letters written to federal agencies, we use investigate the role of legislator characteristics on the structure of letter-marking networks. Specifically, we explore the importance of collaboration and competition in MC decisions to co-author letters to agencies. Our findings suggest members seek out similar members to work with, regardless of shared benefits.

Suggested Citation

Kalaf-Hughes, Nicole and Mills, Russell, Pen Pals: Legislator Characteristics and Collaboration in Congressional Letter-Marking Networks (June 13, 2016). Political Networks Workshops & Conference 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2797726 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2797726

Nicole Kalaf-Hughes (Contact Author)

Bowling Green State University - Department of Politcal Science ( email )

124 Williams Hall
BGSU
Bowling Gren, OH 43403
United States

Russell Mills

Bowling Green State University - Department of Politcal Science ( email )

124 Williams Hall
BGSU
Bowling Gren, OH 43403
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
31
Abstract Views
330
PlumX Metrics