PUBLIC welfare, WELFARE state, COMMERCE, NETWORK effect, and FORECASTING
We compare the drivers of U.S. congressmen's votes on trade and migration reforms since the 1970s. Standard trade theory suggests that trade reforms that lower barriers to goods from less skilled‐labor abundant countries and migration reforms that lower barriers to low‐skilled migrants should have similar distributional effects, hurting low‐skilled U.S. workers while benefiting high‐skilled workers. In line with this prediction, we find that House members representing more skilled‐labor abundant districts are more likely to support trade and migration reforms that benefit high‐skilled workers. Still, important differences exist: Democrats are less supportive of trade reforms than Republicans, while the opposite is true for migration reforms; welfare state considerations and network effects shape votes on migration, but not on trade. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
ENVIRONMENTAL policy, UNITED States, UNITED States elections, VOTING -- United States, and LEGISLATORS
Do elections affect legislators' voting patterns? We investigate this question in the context of environmental policy in the U.S. Congress. We theorize that since the general public is generally in favor of legislation protecting the environment, legislators have an incentive to favor the public over industry and vote for pro‐environment legislation at election time. The argument is supported by analyses of data on environmental roll call votes for the U.S. Congress from 1970 to 2013 where we estimate the likelihood of casting a pro‐environment vote as a function of the time to an election. While Democrats are generally more likely to cast a pro‐environment vote before an election, this effect is much stronger for Republicans when the legislator won the previous election by a thinner margin. The election effect is maximized for candidates receiving substantial campaign contributions from the (anti‐environment) oil and gas industry. Analysis of Twitter data confirms that Congressmembers make pro‐environmental statements and highlight their roll call voting behavior during the election season. These results show that legislators do strategically adjust their voting behavior to favor the public immediate prior to an election. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
COMPUTER algorithms, COMPUTER simulation, COMPUTER engineering, and SET design
Recent research has leveraged computer simulations to identify the effect of gerrymandering on partisan bias in U.S. legislatures. As a result of this method, researchers are able to distinguish between the intentional partisan bias caused by gerrymandering and the natural partisan bias that stems from the geographic sorting of partisan voters. However, this research has yet to explore the effect of gerrymandering on other biases like reduced electoral competition and incumbency protection. Using a computer algorithm to design a set of districts without political intent, I measure the extent to which the current districts have been gerrymandered to produce safer seats in Congress. I find that gerrymandering only has a minor effect on the average district, but does produce a number of safe seats for both Democrats and Republicans. Moreover, these safe seats tend to be located in states where a single party controls the districting process. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
INTERNATIONAL relations, LEGISLATION, SANCTIONS (International law), ECONOMIC sanctions, and DESCRIPTIVE statistics
Given the US president's leading role in many areas of American foreign policy, one might expect the president to prevail in executive-legislative clashes over economic sanctions. In this paper, I show that, with surprising frequency, US legislators overcome presidential opposition to their sanctions proposals and induce the president to take foreign policy actions that he or she would not otherwise take. My argument explains why the president often signs and implements sanctions legislation despite considering it inadvisable, as well as how sanctions legislation can influence foreign policy actions, the behavior of foreign governments, or international diplomacy in other ways. I support the argument with descriptive statistics based on an original data set of over a hundred legislative sanctions proposals and a case study of the effects of legislative initiatives targeting Iran over a period of two decades. The paper's findings show that legislative activity is more important than some previous research on sanctions and US foreign policy suggests. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
ECONOMIC models, ECONOMIC policy, LEGISLATIVE voting, and TIME measurements
This paper investigates the determinants of political polarization, a phenomenon of increasing relevance in Western democracies. How much of polarization is driven by divergence in the ideologies of politicians? How much is instead the result of changes in the capacity of parties to control their members? We use detailed internal information on party discipline in the context of the U.S. Congress—whip count data for 1977–1986—to identify and structurally estimate an economic model of legislative activity in which agenda selection, party discipline, and member votes are endogenous. The model delivers estimates of the ideological preferences of politicians, the extent of party control, and allows us to assess the effects of polarization through agenda setting (i.e., which alternatives to a status quo are strategically pursued). We find that parties account for approximately 40% of the political polarization in legislative voting over this time period, a critical inflection point in U.S. polarization. We also show that, absent party control, historically significant economic policies would have not passed or lost substantial support. Counterfactual exercises establish that party control is highly relevant for the probability of success of a given bill and that polarization in ideological preferences is more consequential for policy selection, resulting in different bills being pursued. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
California Law Review. Jun2020, Vol. 108 Issue 3, p917-940. 24p.
STATUTORY interpretation, UNITED States appellate courts, and JUDICIAL reform
The article focuses on vital statutory opinion transmission project directly connecting the work of the judiciary with the work of the U.S. Congress. It mentions project designed to "foster communication" between the judicial and legislative branches and Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has been instrumental in instituting and revitalizing this program. It also mentions proposal for judicial reform.