Center for Effective Lawmaking

Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Abigail Spanberger

Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Abigail Spanberger  Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA7) spent her freshman term in Congress on a variety of high profile initiatives. In a conversation with Professors Craig Volden (UVA) and Alan E. Wiseman (Vanderbilt University), Co-Directors of the Center for Effective Lawmaking, Representative Spanberger shares valuable insights into what it takes to be an effective lawmaker in Congress.  Join us as the Congresswoman answers questions on how she approaches her job, such as how she seeks to build bipartisan coalitions, how a legislator tries to cultivate a…

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Center for Effective Lawmaking Annual Report 2019-2020

The Center for Effective Lawmaking 2019-2020 Annual Report Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Center for Effective Lawmaking Annual Report.  This overview report represents our annual means of spreading the word about the accomplishments, broad goals, and future plans for the Center.  At a time when so many people around the world are feeling so distant from one another, we could not be more thankful for the close community of those who continue to work with us to advance the Center’s work. We thank our student interns and researchers, who…

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Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Michael Minta

Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Michael Minta The Center for Effective Lawmaking recently sat down with faculty affiliate Professor Michael Minta, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, to discuss his research and his partnership with the CEL. Professor Minta’s research focuses on American politics, race and ethnicity in US politics, and representation of underrepresented groups in Congress. Most recently, Professor Minta has also been researching interest groups and how they react to private funding. When asked how he came to study political science, Professor Minta explains…

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Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Andrew Clarke

Meet Our Faculty Affiliate: Andrew Clarke Andrew Clarke, an Assistant Professor of Government and Law at Lafayette College, and current Faculty Affiliate of the CEL, uses his expertise not only to advance legislative research but also to help the next generation of scholars. Professor Clarke received his undergraduate degree in political science at Bucknell University and a doctorate in government at the University of Virginia. His research area of expertise includes American political institutions with a more specific focus on legislative party factions.As an undergraduate at Bucknell University, Clarke first…

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Watch: The History of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores

Watch: The History of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores During a recent Expert Chat conversation, hosted by the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, Professors Alan E. Wiseman and Craig Volden gave rare insight into how the Center for Effective Lawmaking was first formed, with roots from when the Co-Directors were both faculty at Ohio State University.At that time, Volden and Wiseman utilized their skill sets to create a meaningful metric for effectiveness in Congress by assessing which members successfully pass substantive and significant pieces of legislation regardless of political…

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Meet Our New Post-Doctoral Affiliate: Erinn Lauterbach

Meet Our New Post-Doctoral Affiliate: Erinn Lauterbach The Center for Effective Lawmaking is excited to introduce our newest post-doctoral fellow, Erinn Lauterbach. Erinn received her bachelor’s in political science and psychology from Central College, and her master’s and PhD from the University of California, Riverside. Hailing from Iowa, Erinn has always been a “political junkie.” Her interest in political science was solidified when she had the opportunity to study abroad in London, serving as an intern for a member of the British Parliament. Erinn was fascinated by the differences in…

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Experienced Legislative Staff Crucial to Making a Difference on the Hill

Experienced Legislative Staff Crucial to Making a Difference on the Hill A legislative staff member’s role is critical to maintaining and sustaining the operations of congressional offices. And the CEL has released a study revealing that the more experience a congressional staff member has, the better equipped they are to make the lawmaker they work for more effective.Assessing data from 1974 to 2013, the CEL discovered that experienced congressional staff have a significant impact on a legislator’s performance in Congress. Experienced staff help members advance legislative proposals of greater significance…

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Women’s Issues and Their Fates in Congress

Women's Issues and Their Fates in Congress It is no surprise to voters that bills addressing the classically considered “women’s issues” are more likely to be introduced by female members of Congress. Yet, bills on such issues are half as likely as other bills to be passed into law. Beyond that fact, CEL research has revealed a further surprising and disheartening finding. The likelihood of passage of “women’s issues” legislation drops in half yet again if the women’s issue bills are sponsored by women themselves. If men sponsor the legislation,…

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Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Danielle Thomsen

Meet our Faculty Affiliate: Danielle Thomsen Professor Danielle Thomsen is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the  University of California, Irvine. Her research and writings have been an integral part of progressing the CEL’s portfolio. Previously an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University, she also worked as a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University during the 2018-2019 academic year. Her research focuses on American politics, the U.S. Congress, and gender and politics. She is the author of Opting Out of Congress: Partisan…

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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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