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Showing papers in "Legislative Studies Quarterly in 2009"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present a cross-national, statistical test that analyzes how three key dimensions of candidate quota laws affect women's representation and show that quotas that require more women to be on party ballots lead to the election of more women, independent of placement mandates and enforcement mechanisms.
Abstract: Gender quota laws are intended to increase the number of women elected to legislatures, but initial evidence suggests that many laws have had little effect. I present a cross-national, statistical test that analyzes how three key dimensions of candidate quota laws affect women’s representation. My results show that quotas that require more women to be on party ballots lead to the election of more women, independent of placement mandates and enforcement mechanisms, but rules governing where female candidates are listed on the ballot and sanctions for noncompliance amplify that effect. Candidate quotas can increase women’s representation, but the quotas’ effectiveness depends on their design. Women’s representation in national legislatures around the world has nearly doubled in the past 30 years. Yet the world average for women legislators in 2007 was still only 18%, far less than parity, and the percentage of legislative seats held by women varies widely across countries (IPU 2007). Explanations for women’s underrepresentation stress cultural, socioeconomic, and, perhaps most important, institutional differences in political systems. Specifically, electoral rules, such as those defining the type of electoral system and district magnitude, have been found to affect women’s representation because these rules determine how votes get translated into seats. Despite the benefits that certain institutional arrangements provide for increasing the number of women in legislatures, women continue to be underrepresented in most countries. In an effort to change this trend, many countries have adopted gender quotas—“fast track” mechanisms for increasing women’s representation. While quotas are intended to increase women’s representation, the extent to which they do so varies significantly across countries. For this study, I examined why some types of gender quotas have been more effective than others at increasing women’s representation. I looked specifically at national candidate quota laws, which have been

210 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article examined how voting behavior in the European Parliament changed after the European Union added ten new member states in 2004, using roll-call votes, and found that ideology remained the main predictor of voting behavior, although nationality also played a role.
Abstract: We examined how voting behavior in the European Parliament changed after the European Union added ten new member-states in 2004. Using roll-call votes, we compared voting behavior in the first half of the Sixth European Parliament (July 2004-December 2006) with voting behavior in the previous Parliament (1999–2004). We looked at party cohesion, coalition formation, and the spatial map of voting by members of the European Parliament. We found stable levels of party cohesion and interparty coalitions that formed mainly around the left-right dimension. Ideological distance between parties was the strongest predictor of coalition preferences. Overall, the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 did not change the way politics works inside the European Parliament. We also looked at the specific case of the controversial Services Directive and found that ideology remained the main predictor of voting behavior, although nationality also played a role.

183 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors use bill cosponsorship and roll-call vote data to compare legislators' revealed preferences in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.
Abstract: We use bill cosponsorship and roll-call vote data to compare legislators’ revealed preferences in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Argentine Chamber of Deputies. We estimate ideal points from bill cosponsorship data using principal-component analysis on an agreement matrix that included information on all bills introduced in the U.S. House (1973–2000) and Argentine Chamber (1983–2002). The ideal-point estimates of legislators’ revealed preferences based on cosponsorship data strongly correlate with similar estimates derived from roll-call vote data. Also, cosponsorship activity in the U.S. House has lower dimensionality than cosponsorship has in the Argentine Chamber. We explain this lower discrimination as a function of individual- and district-level factors in both countries. The comparative analysis of legislative voting behavior has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in the last decade (Carey 2006; Morgenstern 2004; Sieberer 2006). New statistical techniques and the greater availability of data now allow researchers to map legislative coalitions, explore party discipline, and explain political realignments in multiparty systems (see, for examples, Aleman and Saiegh 2007; Amorim Neto, Cox, and McCubbins 2003; Clinton, Jackman, and Rivers 2004; Desposato 2005; Haspel, Remington, and Smith 1998; Hix, Noury, and Roland 2006; Hug and Schulz 2007; Jones and Hwang 2005a; Londregan 2000; Morgenstern 2004; Poole 2005; and Rosenthal and Voeten 2004). Efforts to understand voting behavior in legislatures across Europe and Latin America not only expand our knowledge about lawmaking and legislative parties, but also promise to shed new light on the forces that shape legislators’ preferences within different institutional contexts.

117 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper examined hearing transcripts from the 107th Congress and found that minority legislators are more likely than white legislators to participate in racial-oversight hearings, but not more likely to attend social welfare hearings.
Abstract: When determining whether or not legislators are representing their constituents' interests, scholars using voting studies may overstate the role of strategic factors, such as reelection goals and constituent influence, while understating the effect of descriptive characteristics. I argue that race and ethnicity matter in congressional oversight of bureaucratic policymaking. My examination of hearing transcripts from the 107th Congress indicates that minority legislators are more likely than white legislators to participate in racial-oversight hearings but not more likely than whites to participate in social welfare hearings. The results show that descriptive representation contributes to substantive representation, even if the costs of participating outweigh the electoral benefits.

99 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article used elite survey data and scaling techniques to estimate the location of political actors (parties, chief executives, and legislators) from nine countries in a common ideological space, and demonstrated that data generated by survey responses can be reliably used to locate legislators' ideological positions in a low-dimensional space in a manner analogous to the roll-call-based methods commonly used in the U.S. Congress.
Abstract: I used elite survey data and scaling techniques to estimate the location of political actors (parties, chief executives, and legislators) from nine countries in a common ideological space. The recovered ideological configuration of each country accurately reflects the description of that country's political landscape given by the popular press and in the scholarly literature. My findings demonstrate that data generated by survey responses can be reliably used to locate legislators' ideological positions in a low-dimensional space in a manner analogous to the roll-call-based methods commonly used in the scholarship on the U.S. Congress. My approach has two important advantages over methods that use roll-call data, expert surveys, or some combination thereof. First, it does not rely on recorded votes and so is unaffected by concerns about the validity of roll-call data as unbiased indicators of legislator preference. And, because it does not require access to voting records, this approach can be applied to any legislature in the world. Second, my method can be used to estimate the location of political actors in a common ideological space.

88 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors compare the similarities and differences between the NOMINATE and IDEAL methods of fitting spatial voting models to binary roll-call data, and conclude that it is preferable to choose the more flexible Bayesian approach.
Abstract: Carroll et al. (2009) summarize the similarities and differences between the NOMINATE and IDEAL methods of fitting spatial voting models to binary roll-call data. As those authors note, for the class of problems with which either NOMINATE and the Bayesian quadratic-normal model can be used, the ideal point estimates almost always coincide, and when they do not, the discrepancy is due to the somewhat arbitrary identification and computational constraints imposed by each method. There are, however, many problems for which the Bayesian quadratic-normal model can be easily generalized, so as to address a broad array of questions and take advantage of additional data. Given the nature and source of the differences between NOMINATE and the Bayesian approach—as well as the fact that both approaches are approximations of the decision-making processes being modeled—we believe that it is preferable to choose the more flexible Bayesian approach.

57 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article investigated the sources of observed differences between two leading methods, NOMINATE and IDEAL, using data from the 1994 to 1997 Supreme Court and the 109th Senate, and found that some observed differences in estimates produced by each model stem from fundamental differences in the models' underlying behavioral assumptions, others arise from arbitrary differences in implementation.
Abstract: Empirical models of spatial voting allow us to infer legislators' locations in an abstract policy or ideological space using their roll-call votes. Over the past 25 years, these models have provided new insights about the U.S. Congress, and legislative behavior more generally. There are now a number of alternative models, estimators, and software packages that researchers can use to recover latent issue or ideological spaces from voting data. These different tools usually produce substantively similar estimates, but important differences also arise. We investigated the sources of observed differences between two leading methods, NOMINATE and IDEAL. Using data from the 1994 to 1997 Supreme Court and the 109th Senate, we determined that while some observed differences in the estimates produced by each model stem from fundamental differences in the models' underlying behavioral assumptions, others arise from arbitrary differences in implementation. Our Monte Carlo experiments revealed that neither model has a clear advantage over the other in the recovery of legislator locations or roll-call midpoints in either large or small legislatures.

54 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Bauer, de Sola Pool, and Dexter as discussed by the authors emphasize the importance of the early stages of legislating compared to the final roll-call stage: the decisions most constantly on [a member's] mind are not how to vote, but what to do with his time, how to allocate his resources, and where to put his energy.
Abstract: Legislative institutions play a central role in establishing the relative importance of numerous public concerns. Every two years, members of Congress introduce several thousand bills and collectively whittle these down to a few hundred public laws, elevating some issues while lowering others. The earliest stages of this process require legislators to shape policy alternatives through effort-intensive activities: gathering information, drafting bills, building coalitions, and keeping pace with the actions of various interests. Bauer, de Sola Pool, and Dexter emphasize the importance of the early stages of legislating compared to the final roll-call stage: The decisions most constantly on [a member’s] mind are not how to vote, but what to do with his time, how to allocate his resources, and where to put his energy. There are far more issues before Congress than he can possibly cope with. (1972, 405)

48 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors identify four important differences between the House and Senate, generate hypotheses regarding how each difference should influence the distribution of pork projects, and test these hypotheses using data from earmarks in the Appropriations bills passed by the two chambers for fiscal year 2008.
Abstract: Nearly all studies of pork-barrel politics in the U.S. Congress focus on the House, biasing our conception of how politics influences federal spending and skewing our attention toward factors that are active in the House. This article highlights differences between the Senate and House in how pork is allocated. We identify four important differences between the House and Senate, generate hypotheses regarding how each difference should influence the distribution of pork projects, and test these hypotheses using data from earmarks in the Appropriations bills passed by the two chambers for fiscal year 2008. The results support three of our four hypotheses, suggesting that senators are driven by different motivations than House members. These results imply that theoretical accounts of pork-barrel spending need to account for these interchamber differences. Our findings also highlight how studies of legislative behavior, more generally, need to account for important differences in legislative structure and organization.

46 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The role of the U.S. House Rules Committee during the conservative coalition era is not well understood as discussed by the authors, yet its role during the “conservative coalition” era is well understood.
Abstract: The role of the U.S. House Rules Committee is consequential for theories of congressional parties, yet its role during the “conservative coalition” era is not well understood. We systematically analyzed the politics surrounding all special rules considered in Democratic Congresses from 1937 to 1952. We found that Rules repeatedly used its agenda power to push to the floor conservative initiatives that were opposed by the Democratic administration, the Rules Committee chair, and most northern Democrats, especially in Congresses that followed Republican election gains. The 44 conservative initiatives we identified include many of the most important policy issues considered during the period. Our findings challenge the idea that the majority party has consistently enjoyed a veto over which initiatives reach the floor, and they underscore the limits of roll-call-vote analysis in assessments of agenda control.

45 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper analyzed original data tracking congressional committee investigations into alleged fraud, waste, and abuse by the executive branch between 1947 and 2004 and showed that divided government generates more and more intensive congressional investigations, but this relationship is contingent on partisan and temporal factors.
Abstract: Are congressional committee investigations into alleged executive-branch wrongdoing more common during periods of divided government? We analyze original data tracking congressional committee investigations into alleged fraud, waste, and abuse by the executive branch between 1947 and 2004. Countering David Mayhew's (1991) empirical finding, we show that divided government generates more and more-intensive congressional investigations, but this relationship is contingent on partisan and temporal factors. Our findings shed new light on the shifting dynamic between partisan institutional politics and congressional oversight.


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper proposed a model that predicts that governors will often be powerful but that professional legislators can stand up to the executives when long legislative sessions give them the patience to endure a protracted battle over the size of the budget.
Abstract: When legislators and governors clash over the size of American state government, what strategic factors determine who wins? Efforts to address this question have traditionally relied upon setter models borrowed from the congressional literature and have predicted legislative dominance. We offer an alternative simplification of state budget negotiations that follows the “staring match” logic captured by divide-the-dollar games. Our model predicts that governors will often be powerful but that professional legislatures can stand up to the executives when long legislative sessions give them the patience to endure a protracted battle over the size of the budget. In this article, we present our analysis of an original dataset comprising gubernatorial budget proposals and legislative enactments in the states from 1989 through 2004. The results indicate strong empirical support for our predictions.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article examined whether or not constituents notice the home styles of members and members' efforts to communicate their activities through the allocation of official resources, and found evidence that constituents perceive the representational activities of their members in a meaningful fashion.
Abstract: Members of Congress engage in a variety of representational activities, but existing research suggests that the effect of these activities on reelection margins is mixed. Reframing the question, we examined whether or not constituents notice the home styles of members and members' efforts to communicate their activities through the allocation of official resources. Combining new data on members' office expenditures with data from the American National Election Studies, we found evidence that constituents perceive the representational activities of their members in a meaningful fashion. Franking, office expenditures, and travel back home to the district provide positive benefits to incumbents, shaping how constituents view these members and their activities.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Cameron, Epstein, and O'Halloran as mentioned in this paper argue that race-conscious redistricting remains crucial to the election of an overwhelming number of African American and Latino officials and present descriptive evidence, easily interpretable by nonspecialists, from recent elections at the state and federal levels.
Abstract: Race-conscious redistricting remains crucial to the election of an overwhelming number of African American and Latino officials We present descriptive evidence, easily interpretable by nonspecialists, from recent elections at the state and federal levels to support our claims The Voting Rights Act remains a valuable tool to protect the ability of minorities to elect their preferred candidates The intentional creation and protection of electoral districts designed to allow minority groups, primarily African Americans and Latinos, to elect their preferred candidates to public office remain the most controversial aspects of the reauthorized Voting Rights Act Political scientists have debated heatedly the necessity of raceconscious redistricting to elect minority officials on jurisprudential, philosophical, and empirical grounds This article focuses on the empirical question of the relationship between the racial composition of state legislative and congressional districts and the election of African American and Latino candidates Political scientists have often addressed the practical question of whether or not race-conscious districts continue to play a valuable role in ensuring the election of minority legislators One group contends that districts wherein minorities constitute a majority of the population, whatever these districts’ previous value in adding diversity to the legislature, are, as a matter of empirical fact, no longer crucial to minority electoral success (Cameron, Epstein, and O’Halloran 1996;

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors showed that states with citizen legislatures and with higher legislative turnover rates are more conducive to the election of Latino candidates than are other states, and that institutional and demographic differences among states affect the states' Latino descriptive representation.
Abstract: Under what conditions are Latino candidates elected to Congress and state legislatures? How much does the ethnic composition of a district affect the chances that a Latino candidate will be elected in that district? Latinos constitute the single largest minority group in the country, one that is growing at an exponential rate. Post-2000 redistricting created more majority-Latino districts, but the absolute number of Latino legislators did not increase correspondingly. My analysis demonstrates that states with citizen legislatures and with higher legislative turnover rates are more conducive to the election of Latino candidates than are other states. Institutional and demographic differences among states affect the states' Latino descriptive representation. Namely, the institutional design of the legislature matters in terms of electoral responsiveness, with Arizona and California being the most responsive bodies and New York and the U.S. House the least responsive.

Journal ArticleDOI
Daniel M. Butler1
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors explore voter-based explanations for the observed pattern of asymmetric polarization in Congress in recent decades and discuss hypotheses regarding how this trade-off affects candidate positioning and describe their tests of those hypotheses using data on House members in the 107th Congress and Senate members for the period 1982-2004.
Abstract: Candidates face a trade-off in the general election between taking a moremoderate position that appeals to swing voters and a more-extreme position that appeals to voters in the party’s base. The threat of abstention by voters in the party’s base if their candidate takes a position too moderate for them moves candidates to take more-extreme positions. I discuss hypotheses regarding how this trade-off affects candidate positioning and describe my tests of those hypotheses using data on House members in the 107th Congress and Senate members for the period 1982–2004. I then present data on how the distribution of voters in the electorate has changed over the past three decades and discuss how, in light of my empirical findings, these changes might explain the observed pattern of asymmetric polarization in Congress in recent decades. During the middle of the twentieth century, centrist politics dominated Congress to the point that a committee of prominent political scientists dedicated a full report to proposing reforms to encourage the parties to take clear distinctive partisan stances (American Political Science Association 1950). The committee got its wish: the two political parties in Congress diverged from each other over the next several decades. An important feature of the increase in polarization since the early 1970s is that it has been driven largely by the movement of the Republicans in the conservative direction. Figure 1 plots the DWNOMINATE scores 1 of the party medians for the two parties from the 92d Congress (1973–74) to the 108th Congress (2003–04) for the House and Senate. Hacker and Pierson (2005) have argued that the increasing conservatism among Republican politicians is elite driven and occurred in spite of voter preferences (see also Frank 2004). The purpose of my study was to determine if there could also be a voter-based explanation for this observed asymmetric polarization. To be clear, I did not directly test Hacker and Pierson’s claim. Rather I explored what a voter-based

Journal Article
TL;DR: This paper demonstrates that the logit scale avoids widely acknowledged flaws in previous approaches and validate it through comparison to independent expert surveys of policy positions, and draws some lessons for the future design of coding schemes for political texts.
Abstract: Applying a coding scheme to discrete text units has long been the most common method for estimating substantive quantities of interest about the authors of these texts, whether for political, social, economic, or other substantive reasons. In political analysis, researchers typically build scales of policy positions from the relative frequencies of text units coded as left versus right policy categories. In this paper we reexamine the theoretical and linguistic basis for such scales, proposing a new alternative based on the logarithm of odds-ratios that is consistent with this underlying political and linguistic mechanism. We contrast this scale to previous approaches using text units coded into political categories from the discipline’s longest-running content analysis dataset, that of the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP). We demonstrate that the logit scale avoids widely acknowledged flaws in previous approaches and validate it through comparison to independent expert surveys of policy positions. Applied to existing CMP data, without requiring any estimation or inferential procedures, we show how to unlock more policy dimensions, for more years, than have ever been provided before, and we make this new dataset available along with estimates of uncertainty for each measure. Finally, we draw some lessons for the future design of coding schemes for political texts.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors used data from state legislative committees for all 49 partisan legislatures in the 2003-04 and 2005-06 sessions and found support for the partisan model: majority party stacking is associated with a slim majority party advantage in a state legislative chamber.
Abstract: One aspect of the partisan model for legislative committee development that is rarely studied is the degree to which the majority party seeks to control legislative committees—and, thereby, chamber decisions—via numerically “overproportional” majority party representation on standing committees. This form of “party stacking” is often mentioned in the literature but has received little systematic examination and hypothesis testing. Using data from state legislative committees for all 49 partisan legislatures in the 2003–04 and 2005–06 sessions, we found support for the partisan model: majority party stacking is associated with a slim majority party advantage in a state legislative chamber.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors modeled the informativeness of legislative committees as a choice over institutions and found that higher informativity was associated with better preparedness for information transfer, more partisan chambers, and higher demand for information combined with greater incentives to control committee assignments.
Abstract: Using a new dataset drawn from American state legislatures, I modeled the informativeness of legislative committees as a choice over institutions. I found higher informativeness to be associated with better preparedness for information transfer, morepartisan chambers, and higher demand for information combined with greater incentives to control committee assignments. These associations shed light on congressional committee informativeness. A simple model of committee informativeness can predict the informativeness of the U.S. House's committees.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article examined the content of websites posted by members of the 110th Congress and found that the websites of Latino representatives are not more accessible to Spanish-speaking users than non-Latino representatives, nor are the sites more likely to exhibit pro-immigrant positions or offer immigration assistance.
Abstract: Do Latino representatives enhance or “enlarge” Latino representation (Walsh 2002)? I examined the content of websites posted by members of the 110th Congress and found that the websites of Latino representatives are not more accessible to Spanish-speaking users than the websites of non-Latino representatives, nor are the sites more likely to exhibit pro-immigrant positions or offer immigration assistance The websites of Latino representatives are, however, more likely to present Latino perspectives Latino representatives enhance Latino representation in this forum by enlarging or broadening the presence of a Latino voice in policy discussion

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article found that Republicans are more likely to retire than Democrats, not because they have been the predominant minority party, had more political opportunities, or had different private-sector experiences, but because they harbor more conservative ideologies than their Democratic colleagues.
Abstract: Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives tend to retire at a higher rate than Democrats—a fact with potentially important electoral and policy ramifications—but research on the possible explanations for this partisan disparity has been scarce. I test various explanatory hypotheses using multilevel statistical analyses and find that Republicans are more likely to retire—not because they have been the predominant minority party, had more political opportunities, or had different private-sector experiences, but because they harbor more conservative ideologies than their Democratic colleagues.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article used multiple regression to explain variation in congressional travel, looking at 15,825 trips, both domestic and overseas, taken by House and Senate members and their staff between 2001 and 2004.
Abstract: Privately sponsored congressional travel raises questions about the influence of interest groups on lawmakers and about legislative behavior. I used multiple regression to explain variation in congressional travel, looking at 15,825 trips, both domestic and overseas, taken by House and Senate members and their staff between 2001 and 2004. I found that both supply-side and demand-side factors influence congressional travel. Electoral vulnerability corresponds with reduced trip-taking, and institutional power is associated with greater trip-taking, although not to the extent that rent-seeking theory might predict. Members' racial or ethnic minority status also corresponds with greater trip-taking in the House. Pending retirement also influences trip-taking, but in the opposite direction from what some “shirking” theories would predict.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors propose a method that estimates how much a party's obtained votes change under alternative strategies and using this method to reevaluate the nominating behavior of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party.
Abstract: While characterized by disagreement, all scholarly work on multimember district electoral systems in which each voter casts a single, nontransferable vote (MMD/SNTV) is alike in one way: it evaluates party nominations under the assumption that votes are invariant under alternative strategies. But party votes may, in fact, vary with different nomination strategies. Moreover, depending on how much party votes vary under alternative nomination strategies, a method that considers such changes may evaluate nominations differently than previous studies in the literature have. In this article, I address party-vote variance, proposing a method that estimates how much a party's obtained votes change under alternative nomination strategies and using this method to reevaluate the nominating behavior of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party.