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Who Gets the Credit? Legislative Responsiveness and Evaluations of Members, Parties, and the US Congress*

  • Daniel M. Butler, Christopher F. Karpowitz and Jeremy C. Pope
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.
Abstract

This article considers the hypothesis that the positive actions taken by members of Congress (MCs) influence citizens’ evaluations of them, their party, and Congress as an institution. We begin with a look at the available cross-sectional survey data on contact with legislators and legislator and institutional approval. Their legislative responsiveness appears to have a small spillover effect on institutions. However, when we employ a unique panel design that controls for prior levels of opinion and avoids recall bias, we find no evidence of spillover effects. Overall, we find that constituents who received a response from their own MC evaluate that representative more positively than those who did not receive a response, but legislator responsiveness does not predict evaluations of the MC’s political party or the Congress.

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Copyright
Footnotes
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*

Daniel M. Butler is an Associate Professor in the Political Science Department, Washington University in St. Louis, 283 Seigle Hall, St. Louis, MO 63130 (daniel.butler@wustl.edu). Christopher F. Karpowitz (ckarpowitz@byu.edu) and Jeremy C. Pope (jpope@byu.edu) are Associate Professors in the Department of Political Science, Brigham Young University, 745 Spencer W. Kimball Tower, Provo, UT 84602. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2015.83. Replication code for this article has also been published in Code Ocean, a computational reproducibility platform that enables users to run the code, and can be viewed here: https://doi.org/10.24433/CO.e7a24741-ada3-4aed-ad11-f8fc979061f4.

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References
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Political Science Research and Methods
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A correction has been issued for this article: