More Effective than We Thought: Accounting for Legislative Hitchhikers Reveals a More Inclusive and Productive Lawmaking Process

40 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2018 Last revised: 22 Jul 2018

Andreu Casas

New York University (NYU) - Center for Data Science

Matthew Denny

Pennsylvania State University

John Wilkerson

University of Washington - Department of Political Science

Date Written: July 12, 2018

Abstract

For more than half a century, scholars have been studying legislative effectiveness using a single metric -- whether the bills a member sponsors progress through the legislative process. We investigate a less orthodox form of effectiveness -- bill proposals that become law as provisions of other bills. Counting these "hitchhiker" bills as additional cases of bill sponsorship success reveals a more productive, less hierarchical and less partisan lawmaking process. We argue that agenda and procedural constraints are central to understanding why lawmakers pursue hitchhiker strategies. We also investigate the legislative vehicles that attract hitchhikers and find, among other things, that more Senate bills are enacted as hitchhikers on House laws than become law on their own.

Keywords: Congress, Institutions, Text As Data, Legislative Effectiveness, Active Learning

Suggested Citation

Casas, Andreu and Denny, Matthew and Wilkerson, John, More Effective than We Thought: Accounting for Legislative Hitchhikers Reveals a More Inclusive and Productive Lawmaking Process (July 12, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3098325 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3098325

Andreu Casas

New York University (NYU) - Center for Data Science ( email )

726 Broadway
7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
United States

Matthew Denny (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

John Wilkerson

University of Washington - Department of Political Science ( email )

101 Gowen Hall
Box 353530
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

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