Author: Fang-Yi Chiou and Max Goplerud
Title: “Measuring and Theorizing the Legislative Records of Members of the United States Congress, 1873-2010”
A key concept in American legislative politics is the ability of members to build records of legislative accomplishment by proposing and advancing bills on important topics that garner substantial attention in the legislature. We contribute to this literature by providing a new measure of a member's legislative record that covers both chambers from 1873 to 2010 and includes all 1.1 million introduced bills. This increases the historical coverage of existing empirical work by nearly a century and allows us to test a number of theoretically motivated hypotheses using the wide variation in institutions over this expanded period. Among our findings, we uncover that ideological moderates have stronger records relative to extremists in the earlier period in our analysis, whereas majority-party membership is more important in the latter period. We also find that institutional roles such as committee chairmanship are associated with stronger records throughout and vary according to changes in legislative organization.
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