Working Papers In Circulation
Partisan Strength and Legislative Bargaining (With Thomas Choate and John A. Weymark)
We extend the canonical Baron–Ferejohn model of majoritarian legislative bargaining in order to analyze the effects of partisanship on bargaining outcomes. We consider three legislators, two of whom are party affiliated, with each partisan placing some value on the share of the dollar obtained by his copartisan in addition to his own share. We characterize the equilibrium of our model as a function of the strength of party affiliation and the degree to which the legislators have concern for the future; and we determine how the equilibrium varies in response to changes in these two parameters. We show how partisanship
advantages the affiliated legislators relative to the nonpartisan and identify the circumstances in which bipartisan outcomes are viable.
Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Senate (With Craig Volden)
Drawing on data from 1973-2014 (93rd-113th Congresses), we develop a new method for measuring the legislative effectiveness of members of the United States Senate that builds upon Volden and Wiseman’s analysis of legislative effectiveness in the U.S. House. We compare the construction and analysis of our Senate Legislative Effectiveness Scores (LES) to those of the U. S. House over the same 40-year time-period; and we demonstrate that many of the factors that correlated with a Representative’s legislative effectiveness hold true for U.S. Senators. We likewise demonstrate that Senators who were highly effective lawmakers in the U.S. House continue to be highly effective lawmakers in the U.S. Senate; and we illustrate how the direct impact of majority-party status on legislative effectiveness has vacillated substantially over the past 40 years in the United States Senate.
Are Bipartisan Lawmakers More Effective? (With Craig Volden)
We use the Bipartisanship Index (Lugar and Montgomery 2015) and Legislative Effectiveness Scores (Volden and Wiseman 2014) from the U.S. House of Representatives to explore whether bipartisan lawmakers are more effective at advancing their legislative proposals into law. Across numerous specifications we find that bipartisanship is positively related with lawmaking effectiveness. This relationship is conditional, however, on both expected and unexpected factors. For example, intuitively, bipartisanship is more important for minority-party members who wish to advance their sponsored bills than for majority-party members. Perhaps less intuitively, however, bipartisanship is at least as important for ideological extremists as it is for centrists, and bipartisanship is a more influential strategy for lawmakers in recent Congresses than for those in previous decades.
We explore how a substantial body of contemporary scholarship on bureaucratic policymaking in the United States has been profoundly influenced by a body of literature that fails to take into account various binding ex ante and ex post legal constraints on rulemaking. We identify how the implications of these constraints raise several questions regarding the explanatory utility of several extant theories of bureaucratic policymaking. We illustrate our arguments with an in-depth case study of the Environmental Protection Agency’s experiences with promulgating an arsenic standard for drinking water; and we trace out the elements of a theory that might account for the role of these constraints in contemporary rulemaking processes.
Government Standards, Activists, and the Prospects for Industry Self-Regulation (With Craig Volden)
We develop a game-theoretic model wherein a government establishes a standard for product quality while possessing extremely limited enforcement abilities, and a firm chooses whether to comply with, or exceed, the government quality standard. Following the firm’s product choice, an activist decides whether or not to exert costly effort to learn the firm’s choice and publicize that choice to the marketplace. Equilibrium results identify when the activist will play this informational role and when the firm will self-regulate in response to the activist’s threat. Moreover, we identify complementarities that exist between government standards and activist engagement. Governments lacking enforcement capacity can rely on informative activists, and those activists become more effective when the government advocates a high quality standard.