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Agenda Setting in the U.S. Senate
Costly Consideration and Majority Party Advantage

$94.99 (C)

  • Date Published: May 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107006461

$94.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book proposes a new theory of Senate agenda setting that reconciles a divide in literature between the conventional wisdom – in which party power is thought to be mostly, if not completely, undermined by Senate procedures and norms – and the apparent partisan bias in Senate decisions noted in recent empirical studies. Chris Den Hartog and Nathan W. Monroe's theory revolves around a “costly consideration” framework for thinking about agenda setting, where moving proposals forward through the legislative process is seen as requiring scarce resources. To establish that the majority party pays lower agenda consideration costs through various procedural advantages, the book features a number of chapters examining partisan influence at several stages of the legislative process, including committee reports, filibusters and cloture, floor scheduling, and floor amendments. Not only do the results strongly support the book's theoretical assumption and key hypotheses, but they shed new light on virtually every major step in the Senate's legislative process.

    • Proposes a new theory of agenda setting, well suited to explain Senate behavior, but with potential applications in virtually all legislative settings
    • Features a mix of anecdotes, formal theory and systematic data analysis
    • Addresses a 'hot' topic Senate procedures and partisanship in the literature on congressional politics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Agenda Setting in the U.S. Senate is a major contribution to scholarship about the chamber and about legislative leadership in general. In contrast to the traditional portrayal of Senate party leaders as relatively weak, Den Hartog and Monroe provide a compelling conceptual rationale and ample empirical evidence for consequential leadership within the chamber. Their masterful book belongs on the shelf of any serious student of congressional politics.”
    – C. Lawrence Evans, College of William and Mary

    “Scholars and the media have given so much attention to the filibuster and minority party power in the contemporary Senate that one would think nothing else matters. Yet, as Den Hartog and Monroe remind us, a number of major pieces of legislation manage to overcome this roadblock. In Agenda Setting in the U.S. Senate, they address this seeming contradiction and provide an essential balance in their thoughtful and carefully crafted research. Den Hartog and Monroe explain under what conditions major legislation passes the Senate and how the majority party and its leadership are far from powerless in moving their agenda forward. The book is theoretically grounded, analytically stimulating, and substantively rich.”
    – Bruce I. Oppenheimer, Vanderbilt University

    “The rise of partisanship in the contemporary Senate raises tough questions for students of Congress. How can we square evidence of majority party influence with the chamber’s history of supermajority rules and practices? In Agenda Setting in the U.S. Senate, Den Hartog and Monroe offer a new perspective on parties in the Senate, suggesting that partisan influence pervades the legislative process. This book will surely turn heads as scholars grapple with Den Hartog and Monroe’s impressive arguments and wide-ranging evidence. I highly recommend it.”
    – Sarah Binder, George Washington University and The Brookings Institution

    “With sensible theory and considerable empirical analysis, Den Hartog and Monroe provide a useful corrective to the two extreme views that sometimes seem to dominate portrayals of political parties and majority party agenda control in the contemporary Senate – the ‘it’s just like the House’ argument and, on the other extreme, the ‘parties don’t matter’ meme.”
    – Barbara Sinclair, University of California, Los Angeles

    “In recent years there have been many indications that legislative parties are consequential in the Senate, but the theoretical arguments that provide explanations for this pattern have been few and limited. In this small but important book the authors argue (both formally and informally) that the majority party has procedural advantages that make it less costly to get a final vote on its proposals than the minority party. The authors enrich their formal argument with extensive examples from Senate practice and provide support for their theoretical predictions with solid systematic evidence. This book will receive a lot of deserved attention from students of the Senate, and it will influence the course of future research.”
    – David W. Rohde, Duke University

    “There is a tension between the conventional wisdom about Senate parties and certain empirical realities…Chris Den Hartog and Nathan Monroe’s book Agenda Setting in the U.S. Senate expertly addresses this timely topic. It fills a sizeable void in the political science literature, which has largely resisted systematic theorizing about Senate party influence … This is an extremely well-executed book that makes a valuable contribution to the congressional literature.” -Ryan J. Vander Wielen, Temple University, Congress & The Presidency

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2011
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107006461
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 157 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • contains: 56 b/w illus. 24 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. Costly consideration and the majority's advantage
    2. The textbook senate and partisan policy influence
    3. The costly consideration agenda-setting theory
    Part II. Consideration Costs in the Senate:
    4. Committees and senate agenda setting
    5. Scheduling bills in the Senate
    6. Effects of filibusters
    7. Disposition of majority and minority amendments
    8. Killing amendments with tabling motions and points of order
    9. Effects of amendments
    Part III. Testing the Costly-Consideration Theory:
    10. Testing our model
    11. Implications of costly consideration
    Appendix A: relaxing the model's assumptions
    Appendix B: last actions and coding amendment disposition.

  • Authors

    Chris Den Hartog, California Polytechnic State University
    Chris Den Hartog is an assistant professor of political science at California Polytechnic State University. He has published articles and chapters about the legislative process in Congress, its evolution across history, and its effects on congressional policy making. Professor Den Hartog's work includes studies of the nineteenth-century House and the contemporary House and Senate.

    Nathan W. Monroe, University of California, Merced
    Nathan W. Monroe is an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Merced. His work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, Public Choice and State Politics and Policy Quarterly. Professor Monroe previously held faculty positions at Michigan State University and the University of the Pacific.

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