Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 41
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Carson, Jamie L. and Sievert, Joel 2015. Electoral Reform and Changes in Legislative Behavior: Adoption of the Secret Ballot in Congressional Elections. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 40, Issue. 1, p. 83.

    Centellas, Miguel 2015. Mixed-Member Election and Candidate Selection in Bolivia's 1993 and 1997 Elections. The Latin Americanist, Vol. 59, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Chiba, D. Martin, L. W. and Stevenson, R. T. 2015. A Copula Approach to the Problem of Selection Bias in Models of Government Survival. Political Analysis, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 42.

    Key, Ellen M. and Lebo, Matthew J. 2015. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences.

    Kimbrough, Erik O. and Rubin, Jared 2015. Sustaining Group Reputation. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 31, Issue. 3, p. 599.

    Lewis, Andrew R. 2014. Staffing theFrontLines of theCulture War: ConstituencyReligiousEffects onAssignment to theSenateJudiciaryCommittee. Congress & the Presidency, Vol. 41, Issue. 2, p. 167.

    Raymond, Christopher D. 2014. The Effect of the Secret Ballot on Party System Fragmentation: A Test of Three Competing Arguments. Politics, Vol. 34, Issue. 4, p. 378.

    Grimmer, Justin and Powell, Eleanor Neff 2013. Congressmen in Exile: The Politics and Consequences of Involuntary Committee Removal. The Journal of Politics, Vol. 75, Issue. 4, p. 907.

    Lawrence, Eric D. 2013. The Publication of Precedents and Its Effect on Legislative Behavior. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 38, Issue. 1, p. 31.

    Straus, Jacob R. 2013. Use of ‘Dear Colleague’ Letters in the US House of Representatives: A Study of Internal Communications. The Journal of Legislative Studies, Vol. 19, Issue. 1, p. 60.

    Bovitz, Gregory L. Carson, Jamie L. and Collens, Jack D. 2012. Recentralizing the U.S. House Appropriations Process, 1919–20. Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 45, Issue. 1, p. 41.

    Clark, Jennifer Hayes 2012. Examining Parties as Procedural Cartels: Evidence from the U.S. States. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 37, Issue. 4, p. 491.

    Engstrom, Erik J. 2012. The Rise and Decline of Turnout in Congressional Elections: Electoral Institutions, Competition, and Strategic Mobilization. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 56, Issue. 2, p. 373.

    Cantu, F. and Saiegh, S. M. 2011. Fraudulent Democracy? An Analysis of Argentina's Infamous Decade Using Supervised Machine Learning. Political Analysis, Vol. 19, Issue. 4, p. 409.

    Carson, Jamie L. and Jenkins, Jeffery A. 2011. Examining the Electoral Connection Across Time. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 14, Issue. 1, p. 25.

    MARTIN, SHANE 2011. Electoral Institutions, the Personal Vote, and Legislative Organization. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 36, Issue. 3, p. 339.

    Carter, D. B. and Signorino, C. S. 2010. Back to the Future: Modeling Time Dependence in Binary Data. Political Analysis, Vol. 18, Issue. 3, p. 271.

    Hampsher-Monk, Iain and Hindmoor, Andrew 2010. Rational Choice and Interpretive Evidence: Caught between a Rock and a Hard Place?. Political Studies, Vol. 58, Issue. 1, p. 47.

    Kanthak, Kristin and Krause, George A. 2010. Valuing Diversity in Political Organizations: Gender and Token Minorities in the U.S. House of Representatives. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 54, Issue. 4, p. 839.

    Pellegrini, Pasquale A. and Grant, J. Tobin 2010. Policy Coalitions in the U.S. Congress: A Spatial Duration Modeling Approach. Geographical Analysis, Vol. 31, Issue. 1, p. 45.


Careerism, Committee Assignments, and the Electoral Connection

  • Jonathan N. Katz (a1) and Brian R. Sala (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 August 2014

Most scholars agree that members of Congress are strongly motivated by their desire for reelection. This assumption implies that members of Congress adopt institutions, rules, and norms of behavior in part to serve their electoral interests. Direct tests of the electoral connection are rare, however, because significant, exogenous changes in the electoral environment are difficult to identify. We develop and test an electoral rationale for the norm of committee assignment “property rights.” We examine committee tenure patterns before and after a major, exogenous change in the electoral system—the states' rapid adoption of Australian ballot laws in the early 1890s. The ballot changes, we argue, induced new “personal vote” electoral incentives, which contributed to the adoption of “modern” congressional institutions such as property rights to committee assignments. We demonstrate a marked increase in assignment stability after 1892, by which time a majority of states had put the new ballot laws into force, and earlier than previous studies have suggested.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Michael Abram , and Joseph Cooper . 1968. “The Rise of Seniority in the House of Representatives.” Polity 1:5385.

John H. Aldrich 1995. Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Party Politics in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

David W. Brady , Joseph Cooper , and Patricia A. Hurley . 1979. “The Decline of Party in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1887–1968.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 4:381407.

Joel Budgor , Elizabeth Capell , David Flanders , Nelson Polsby , Mark Westlye , and John Zaller . 1981. “The 1896 Election and Congressional Modernization.” Social Science History 5:5390.

Bruce Cain , John Ferejohn , and Morris Fiorina . 1987. The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bruce A. Campbell , and Richard J. Trilling , eds. 1980. Realignment in American Politics: Toward a Theory. Austin: University of Texas Press.

George Goodwin . 1959. “The Seniority System in Congress.” American Political Science Review 53:412–36.

Charles O. Jones 1968. “Joseph G. Cannon and Howard W. Smith: An Essay on the Limits of Leadership in the House of Representatives.” Journal of Politics 30:617–46.

Samuel Kernell . 1977. “Toward Understanding Nineteenth-Century Congressional Careers: Ambition, Competition, and Rotation.” American Journal of Political Science 21:669–93.

Gary King , Nancy Burns James Alt , and Michael Laver . 1990. “A Unified Model of Cabinet Dissolution in Parliamentary Democracies.” American Journal of Political Science 34:846–71.

Michael C. Munger 1988. “Allocation of Desirable Committee Assignments: Extended Queues Versus Committee Expansion.” American Journal of Political Science 32:317–44.

Peter Nardulli . 1995. “The Concept of a Critical Realignment, Electoral Behavior, and Political Change.” American Political Science Review 89:1022.

Nelson W. Polsby , Miriam Gallaher , and Barry S. Rundquist . 1969. “The Growth of the Seniority System in the U.S. House of Representatives.” American Political Science Review 63:787807.

Jerrold Rusk . 1970. “The Effect of the Australian Ballot Reform on Split Ticket Voting: 1876–1908.” American Political Science Review 64:1220–38.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *