Endogenous Networks and Legislative Activity

66 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2016 Last revised: 17 Aug 2021

See all articles by Nathan Canen

Nathan Canen

University of Houston

Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute

Francesco Trebbi

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 16, 2021

Abstract

We develop a model of endogenous network formation as well as strategic interactions that take place on the resulting graph, and use it to measure social complementarities in the legislative process. Our model allows for partisan bias and homophily in the formation of relationships, which then impact legislative output. We use it to show how increased electoral competition can induce increased social behavior and the nonlinear effects of political polarization on legislative activity. We identify and structurally estimate our model using data on social and legislative efforts of members of each of the 105th-110th U.S. Congresses (1997-2009). We find large network effects in the form of complementarities between the efforts of politicians, both within and across parties. Although partisanship and preference differences between parties are significant drivers of socializing, our empirical evidence paints a less polarized picture of the informal connections of legislators than typically emerges from legislative votes alone.

Keywords: Social Networks; U.S. Congress; Partisanship; Endogenous Networks

JEL Classification: D72, P48, H7

Suggested Citation

Canen, Nathan and Jackson, Matthew O. and Trebbi, Francesco, Endogenous Networks and Legislative Activity (August 16, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2823338 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2823338

Nathan Canen

University of Houston ( email )

4800 Calhoun Road
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Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
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1-650-723-3544 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jacksonm

Santa Fe Institute

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Francesco Trebbi (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

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2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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United States

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