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  1. 1. Congress
  2. 2. Let’s Start with a Puzzle <ul><li>How does Congress get anything done? </li></ul><ul><li>Or, how does Congress overcome its collective dilemmas? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Earmarks <ul><li>Pork </li></ul><ul><li>Pet projects </li></ul>
  4. 4. Example <ul><li>The Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2010 (H.R. 3326) . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$8 million for the Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Science in Hawaii (Senator Inouye) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$7.8 million for an “extremely large, domestic expendable and reusable structures manufacturing center” in Mississippi (Senator Cochran) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>$7 million for the Robert C. Byrd Institute of Advanced Flexible Manufacturing Systems in West Virginia </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Collective Dilemmas <ul><li>Inserting pork, earmarks </li></ul><ul><li>Claiming credit for public goods you didn’t help produce </li></ul><ul><li>Voting against a party proposal that’s unpopular in your district </li></ul>
  6. 6. Other Collective Dilemmas <ul><li>Cycling coalitions </li></ul><ul><li>Coordination between the Senate and House </li></ul>
  7. 7. Principal-Agent problems <ul><li>Congress and executive agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Voters and representatives </li></ul>
  8. 8. Answer to Puzzle <ul><li>Congress has developed a set of institutions that enable its members to act collectively when necessary, but also satisfy their individual goals </li></ul>
  9. 9. An Unusual Legislative System <ul><li>Not a parliamentary democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Strong committee system </li></ul><ul><li>Parties aren’t the only actors (individual representatives matter) </li></ul><ul><li>Political microcosm, widely studied </li></ul>
  10. 10. In Comparison <ul><li>Congress MUCH more important in the American system than a parliament is in a parliamentary system </li></ul><ul><li>Great Britain---rubber stamps the PM’s and his/her government’s policies </li></ul>
  11. 11. In Comparison (cont’d) <ul><li>Individualism rampant in Congress (not so in other countries) </li></ul><ul><li>Internal organization of Congress is a very big deal (not so in other countries) </li></ul><ul><li>Single-party majorities form in Congress (not so in most other countries) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Representation and Policy-making <ul><li>Tension between these functions </li></ul><ul><li>Voices to be heard, but work to be done </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest (Churchill) </li></ul><ul><li>People dislike Congress, but love their members of Congress </li></ul><ul><li>Making sausages </li></ul>
  13. 13. Representation <ul><li>Delegate vs. trustee </li></ul><ul><li>Descriptive vs. substantive </li></ul><ul><li>Constituency vs. party vs. ideology vs….. </li></ul><ul><li>Reelection motivation-- (credit-claiming, advertising, patronage) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Motivated by Reelection (Mayhew) <ul><li>Assuming true, what would Congress look like? </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy to claim credit (easy to co-sponsor) </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy to provide pork (semi-open rules) </li></ul><ul><li>Make it easy to move back and forth between collective effort and individual grand-standing (parties are not all that disciplined) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Historical Changes in Representation <ul><li>Professionalized representatives, was not always the case </li></ul><ul><li>More activist government, more pork </li></ul><ul><li>Greater incumbency advantage </li></ul><ul><li>Direct election of Senators </li></ul><ul><li>Ups and downs in partisan voting </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of gerrymandering (race an issue lately) </li></ul><ul><li>Wesberry v Sanders (1964) </li></ul>
  16. 16. American Government, 11th Edition Copyright © 2010 W.W. Norton & Company The Widening Ideological Gap between The Parties
  17. 17. The Median Voter Liberal (left) Conservative (right) Voter 1 Voter 2 Voter 3
  18. 19. D D D D R D D D R R R D D R R R R
  19. 20. Why Does it Matter How Congress is Organized? <ul><li>Pork-producing machine? </li></ul><ul><li>(Notion of logrolling) </li></ul><ul><li>Median voter runs the place? </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient and well-informed policy? </li></ul><ul><li>Parties rule? </li></ul>
  20. 21. Committee System <ul><li>Is key! </li></ul><ul><li>Jurisdiction </li></ul><ul><li>Agenda control </li></ul><ul><li>Amendment procedures </li></ul>
  21. 22. What Do Committees Do? <ul><li>Allow members to specialize. Of course, but why? </li></ul><ul><li>To bring home pork? </li></ul><ul><li>To become more knowledgeable? </li></ul><ul><li>To be rewarded for party loyalty? </li></ul>
  22. 23. Four Models of How Congress Works <ul><li>Pork-barrel (or distributive) model </li></ul><ul><li>Information model </li></ul><ul><li>Partisan model </li></ul><ul><li>Elitist </li></ul>