Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving

Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving

$30.99 (P)

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107670310

$30.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving shows how a simple premise – voters are willing to hold lawmakers accountable for their collective problem-solving abilities – can produce novel insights into legislative organization, behavior, and output. How do issues end up on the agenda? Why do lawmakers routinely invest in program oversight and broad policy development? What considerations drive legislative policy change? Knowing that their prospects for reelection are partly dependent on their collective problem-solving abilities, lawmakers support structures that enhance the legislature's capacity to address problems in society and encourage members to contribute to nonparticularistic policy-making activities. The resulting insights are novel and substantial: Congress' collective performance affects the reelection prospects of incumbents of both parties; the legislative issue agenda can often be predicted years in advance; nearly all important successful legislation originates in committee; most laws pass with bipartisan support; and electorally induced shifts in preferences or partisan control are not robust predictors of policy change. The electoral imperative to address problems in society provides a compelling explanation for these important and provocative findings.

    • Integrates important insights from legislative studies and public policy studies to propose and test a new theory of legislative organization, behavior and policy change
    • Fresh and provocative perspective on Congress that draws attention to its important and underappreciated problem-solving features and contributions
    • The first major project to derive from the highly regarded Congressional Bills Project
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    “Adler and Wilkerson provide an insightful analysis in Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving that offers a more complex view of Congress than the one-dimensional critique we typically get from the press. They discuss institutional practices and processes that drive congressional problem solving and why members of Congress continue to perpetuate them. Although this appears to be the most partisan and dysfunctional Congress in memory, Adler and Wilkerson demonstrate that Democrats and Republicans in Congress are capable of cooperating when they need to.” – Representative Henry A. Waxman, 30th Congressional District of California

    “Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving is the first serious rethinking of the role and operation of Congress in twenty years or more. It has the potential of encouraging congressional scholars to rethink many of the ‘givens’ in the field, and will be widely cited and adopted in courses. Additionally, it will be warmly regarded by public policy scholars and by practitioners and any who care about the operation of Congress.” – Bryan Jones, J. J. “Jake” Pickle Regents Chair in Congressional Studies, University of Texas at Austin

    “This book is the culmination of an enormous effort by the authors, stretching over many years, to collect relevant data on the law-making process and to use the data to address important theoretical issues. The results are impressive. Every congressional researcher will want to read and understand the arguments and evidence the authors marshal, and students will benefit greatly from having this book assigned in class.” – David W. Rohde, Ernestine Friedl Professor of Political Science, Duke University

    "In the end, I hope and expect that Adler and Wilkerson’s challenging study will be widely read. A book that forces us to think hard about how we approach the study of Congress does not come along very often."
    Paul J. Quirk, Congress and the Presidency

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107670310
    • length: 262 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus. 38 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I:
    1. Congress and the politics of problem solving
    2. Problem-focused voters and congressional accountability
    3. Congressional approval and incumbent accountability
    Part II:
    4. Problem-solving constraints and legislative institutions
    5. Agenda scarcity, problem solving, and temporary legislation
    Part III:
    6. Rethinking committee reform
    7. Agenda setting in a problem-solving legislature
    Part IV:
    8. Problem solving and policy focal points
    9. Problem solving and policy change
    10. Problem solving and American politics.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Senior Capstone in American Government
    • politics of policy process
  • Authors

    E. Scott Adler, University of Colorado Boulder

    John D. Wilkerson, University of Washington

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.