Center for Effective Lawmaking

The Center for Effective Lawmaking seeks to advance the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. We envision a Congress comprised of effective lawmakers, strong institutional capacity, and the incentive structure needed to address America’s greatest public policy challenges.

The Center for Effective Lawmaking

2019-2020 Grants Now Open!

The CEL proudly supports important research in our field. Applications for the 2019 grant program are now available. All materials are due August 15, 2019.
Identification
The Center for Effective Lawmaking seeks to identify the characteristics about elected officials that make them more or less effective lawmakers.
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Cultivation
The Center for Effective Lawmaking seeks to understand the institutions, strategies, and career paths that elected officials might employ and follow to cultivate different methods for becoming effective lawmakers in Congress.
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Accountability
The Center for Effective Lawmaking seeks to understand the conditions under which constituents do (or should) care about the relative lawmaking effectiveness of their Representatives and Senators; and the accountability focus of the Center engages with these types of questions.
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What is the Center for Effective Lawmaking?

The Center for Effective Lawmaking (“CEL”) is a joint partnership between the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Vanderbilt University. It was created in 2017 to advance the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. The Center grew out of the Legislative Effectiveness Project, based on the scholarship of Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman, as featured in the award-winning book Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers.

Today, the CEL is directed by Craig Volden of the University of Virginia and Alan E. Wiseman of Vanderbilt University. To advance the goals of the Center, Volden and Wiseman have undertaken numerous research projects, brought together a team of scholars around the country with a diverse portfolio of work surrounding this issue, host an annual research conference, created materials to help lawmakers become more effective, and provide opportunities for public involvement through events with former and current legislators.

We invite you to support our work. Financial donations can be tailored to enhance specific Center initiatives of greatest interest to you. If you are interested in hosting an event to increase awareness about our work, please email thelawmakers@virginia.edu.

News & Articles

At a time when cynicism about Congress (both within and outside of the institution) seems both insurmountable and well-founded, the search for effective lawmakers is perhaps as crucial as it has ever been. It is at times when institutions are failing that effective leaders are needed more than ever.

Volden & Wiseman (2014, p. 13)
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