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Distributive and Partisan Issues in Agriculture Policy in the 104th House

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 May 2017

Mark S. Hurwitz
Affiliation:
University at Buffalo, SUNY
Roger J. Moiles
Affiliation:
Grand Valley State University
David W. Rohde
Affiliation:
Michigan State University

Abstract

Distributive, informational, and partisan rationales provide contrasting accounts of legislative politics. Which of these theories best explains the decisions and policies of the House Agriculture Committee? We contend that all are appropriate, at various times, depending upon the particular issues and circumstances. By analyzing issues within the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committee and the Agriculture and Rural Development Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee in the 104th House, we demonstrate that the issue environments of both are multidimensional (even within individual bills) and that each committee has both distributive and partisan policy dimensions. Therefore, it is impossible for either committee to be representative of the chamber on all its policy dimensions simultaneously. In addition, with regard to distributive issues salient to members, we find that both committees are homogeneous, high-demand outliers. Our study has important implications for distributive, informational, and partisan theories of legislative behavior and organization.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2001

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