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Lecture7w11 Lecture7w11 Presentation Transcript

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