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Lawmaking in American Legislatures: an empirical investigation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2018

Joshua D. Clinton
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Vanderbilt University, USA E-mail: josh.clinton@vanderbilt.edu
Mark D. Richardson
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, James Madison University, USA E-mail: richarmd@vanderbilt.edu
Corresponding

Abstract

Given pervasive gridlock at the national level, state legislatures are increasingly the place where notable policy change occurs. Investigating such change is difficult because it is often hard to characterise policy change and use observable data to evaluate theoretical predictions; it is subsequently unclear whether law-making explanations focusing on the US Congress also apply to state legislatures. We use several measures of state policy outcomes to examine lawmaking in state legislatures across nearly two decades, and we argue for using simulation studies to connect theoretical predictions to empirical specifications and help interpret the theoretical relevance of estimated correlations. Doing so reveals that the observed law-making outcomes we study are most consistent with law-making models emphasising the importance of the chamber median and the powers of the governor rather than those that focus on the preferences of the majority party.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press, 2018 

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