Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.



Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this


  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>