Center for Effective Lawmaking

Elite Education and Legislative Behavior in the U.S. Congress

Elite Education and Legislative Behavior in the U.S. Congress The Center for Effective Lawmaking announces new research about the relationship between elite education on legislative behavior, particularly effective lawmaking, in the U.S. Congress.About a third of the U.S. Congress is comprised of legislators who attended elite colleges, universities, and law schools. We studied how legislative behaviors within this group have differed from those of other legislators between 1973 and 2014. Elite education is defined as having graduated from the most highly ranked colleges and universities, such as Stanford or Harvard, and…

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Watch: The Role of Experienced Congressional Staff

Watch: The Role of Experienced Congressional Staff in Effective Lawmaking On June 5, 2020, the Center for Effective Lawmaking hosted a discussion about the role and importance of experienced legislative staff on effective lawmaking. Mike Henry, Chief of Staff for Senator Tim Kaine, joined Center for Effective Lawmaking Co-Director, Professor Craig Volden, for a virtual conversation regarding life as a professional Congressional staffer.They spoke candidly about how experienced legislative staff can greatly impact a lawmaker’s ability to be effective. Members of Congress seek to allocate their scarce staff resources carefully,…

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Introducing our Summer Intern Team 2020

Meet Our Summer 2020 Intern Team With the end of the academic year, we watch as our 2019-2020 student intern team of stellar University of Virginia students go on to new ventures . However, at the Center for Effective Lawmaking, we are excited to announce our new summer team of Batten students!Please join us in welcoming the following interns to the CEL team. We look forward to their projects and hard work as they bring their unique talents to the Center's vision.Sherese Bonner is a University Achievement Award Scholar majoring…

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Watch: Primaries and Primary Reform

Watch: Primaries and Primary Reform On May 14, 2020, we partnered with the Miller Center to bring together a panel of experts to discuss primaries and primary reform. Our faculty affiliate Jennifer Lawless moderated as Chris Lu, Kyle Kondik and our Co-Director Craig Volden spent an hour answering questions such as: Is the U.S. presidential primary system really the best way to choose a nominee? Are we too reliant on campaign cash and media coverage? What are the benefits and costs of ranked choice voting? What interests these experts the…

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Watch: Women in Legislature

Watch: Women in Legislature (A Community Conversation) On May 1, the Center for Effective Lawmaking, along with Batten Women in Policy, hosted a discussion about the role and importance of women in legislatures.The CEL has ground-breaking research finding that congresswomen tend to build coalitions more regularly than their male counterparts. This results in minority-party women being some of the highest scoring legislators when it comes to effectiveness. But, this principle does not apply equally to all congresswoman, nor for their proposals in some important policy areas.Watch the recording as Professor…

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The Increased Effectiveness of the Post 9-11 Veteran in Congress

The Increased Effectiveness of the Post-9/11 Veteran in Congress The Center for Effective Lawmaking (“CEL”) announces new research about the increased effectiveness of veterans in Congress following their 9/11 service. Richard Hagner at Vanderbilt  University has found that, while military experience does not necessarily translate to increased legislative effectiveness for veterans elected to Congress, there is a strong relationship for the cohort who served the country post- 9/11.There has been a steady decline in the number of military veterans in Congress since 1973. While conventional wisdom suggests that these members…

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Learn About Effective Lawmaking

Learn About Effective Lawmaking: Introducing Our New Short Course For the first time, the Center for Effective Lawmaking is offering you the opportunity to learn about effective lawmaking from your own home! In eight short video modules, our Co-Director, Professor Craig Volden at the University of Virginia, walks participants through how we measure effective lawmaking, what we include (and don't) in our metrics, and some of our unique findings. Professor Volden also discusses how the Center for Effective Lawmaking has moved to impactful engagement and our exciting plans for future…

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Turning Legislative Effectiveness into Electoral Success

Turning Legislative Effectiveness into Legislative Success The Center for Effective Lawmaking (“CEL”) conducted an in-depth study to explore whether lawmakers in Congress are rewarded in primary elections for their effectiveness. Do effective members win at a greater rate during this time of the electoral cycle? Can they ward off challengers? The answer, for the first time, is clear. And it has obvious impacts on how lawmakers considering reelection should use their time in Congress. Looking at congressional primaries data from 1980-2016 allowed CEL researchers to remove partisan cues and focus…

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Watch: Jamelle Bouie on Super Tuesday, Presidential Elections and Debates

On Monday, March 2, the Center for Effective Lawmaking hosted New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie at the University of Virginia. Watch the conversation between Bouie and Center Co-Director Craig Volden as they discuss the 2020 presidential primaries. View it on Vimeo here.

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How Effective are Party Faction Members in Congress?

How Effective are Party Faction Members in Congress? There is much discussion given today’s political climate about the rise and strength of political factions. As those who are like-minded bind more closely to push through legislation and change, the inclination is to believe that working together in a cohesive faction will wield power to move legislative changes through Congress and the larger the faction the more powerful it is. But is this true? At the Center for Effective Lawmaking, we took an in-depth look at ideological caucuses. Factions (formally referred…

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