Legislative Style

Tracy Sulkin, University of Illinois CU
Thursday, May 31, 2018 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Gowen 1A (Olson Room)


Members of Congress face choices about how to prioritize their activities and allocate their efforts. Collectively, these decisions comprise an MC’s “legislative style.” We define and analyze legislative style, focusing on the behavior of all members of the House of Representatives in the 101st-110th Congresses (1989-2008). We gather data on MC activities, categorize these into indices that reflect components of style, and then use longitudinal model-based clustering techniques to uncover how these components cluster together. Our results reveal that MCs' legislative styles are predictable, relatively stable across time, and associated with legislative and electoral success. These findings have important implications for our understanding of legislators' careers, the quality of constituency representation, and the nature of policy outcomes.



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