Center for Effective Lawmaking

Small Grant Awards 2019-2020 Announced

2019-2020 Small Grant Awards Announced It is with honor and excitement that we announce our 2nd annual small grant awards and recipients. Last year was the inaugural year of the program, and the body of academic research produced was impressive and critical to the field. We know that this year's group of awardees will deliver the same high caliber scholarly work. The CEL’s funding and support for research grants is consistent with its commitment to advancing the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers…

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New Research About Women’s Advancement in Politics

New Research on Women's Advancement in Politics and the Gender Gap New research coming from our 2018-2019 small grant program has huge implications regarding the prospects for career advancement among female congressional staff. CEL affiliates and grant awardees Melinda N. Ritchie and Hye Young You find that female staff members experience slower rates of promotion and lower levels of compensation than male staff members at the same rank, and that this gender gap is most substantial for positions that present the greatest structural challenges for women. These differences appear to…

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2018-2019 Annual Report Now Available

The Center for Effective Lawmaking 2018-2019 Annual Report Welcome to the 2019 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.   In a time when observers of politics have been quick to lament political polarization in the United States, and express frustration about the inability of our lawmaking institutions to engage with pressing policy problems, we strive to draw on our skills as social scientists and academic scholars…

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The Five Habits of Highly Effective Lawmakers

The Five Habits of Highly Effective Lawmakers As Congress prepares to go into recess, it is an opportunity reflect upon the legislative work completed thus far in the 116th Congress. Additionally, with many initiatives and reforms facing Congress upon their return, lawmakers still have a lot of work ahead of them upon their return in September. While it can feel to voters as though progress on the Hill is slow or even nonexistent, we believe reports of the death of congressional lawmaking have been greatly exaggerated. Public discourse tends to…

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Inside the 2nd Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking

Inside the 2nd Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking The Center for Effective Lawmaking hosted its Second Annual Research Conference on June 10, 2019 at the University of Virginia. The conference featured seven presentations of work focused on the conference theme “The Pipeline of Potentially Effective Lawmakers: Who Runs and Who Gets Elected?”  The Center for Effective Lawmaking's research team has developed three areas of focus for the research: identification of the characteristics of those who would likely become effective lawmakers once elected; cultivation of effective lawmakers…

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Highlights from the New 115th Congress Legislative Effectiveness Scores

Highlights from the New 115th Congress Legislative Effectiveness Scores The Center for Effective Lawmaking is pleased to announce the release of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores (LES) for the recently completed 115th Congress (2017-18).  As in all previous releases, the scores are based on the combination of fifteen metrics regarding the bills that members of Congress sponsor, how far they move through the lawmaking process, and how important their policy proposals are.  The scores are normalized to an average value of 1.0 in each the House and the Senate.  More on…

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Re-Thinking How We Vote

Re-Thinking How We Vote In today’s political arena, it is tempting to vote for candidates with the best slogan. But perhaps, we could build a better Congress if we voted for leaders who delivered results.Every two years, ineffective members of Congress are re-elected to their positions – sometimes effortlessly. And while this year voter turnout surpassed previous highs [i], simply just turning out to vote does not exhaust the extent of our civic duties. Robust civic engagement demands that we do our due diligence before we step in the booth.This…

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2019 Research Grant Recipients

2018-2019 Grant Recipients in the Field of Legislative Effectiveness This fall, the Center for Effective Lawmaking, announced its first round of grant recipients.The CEL’s funding and support for research grants is consistent with its commitment to advancing the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. A defining feature of the Center is its emphasis that research and understanding yield new opportunities to improve lawmaking effectiveness. The 2019 research grant recipients:Hanna K. Brant – University of MissouriAndrew Clarke – Lafayette…

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Your Role in Building a Better Congress

Your Role in Building a Better Congress Research commissioned by the Congressional Institute shows that less than 1 in 5 voters believes their voice is being heard. So, how can individuals citizens begin to express their views in Congress?The best method of constituent expression stems from the power of the vote.  Voter registration and participation in all elections is the best way to influence your representative bodies. According to a September 2017, Gallup News poll the congressional approval rating is at an abysmal 16 percent. In order to remedy this problem I recommend…

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D or R > X or Y: Party trumps sex in the contemporary Congress

D or R > X or Y: Party Trumps Sex in the Contemporary Congress When Republican Senator Susan Collins took to the Senate floor last week to announce whether she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Democrats and Republicans alike held their breath. Collins’s vote would be pivotal; it would determine whether one of the most controversial Supreme Court nominees of all time would receive a lifetime appointment.It wasn’t the first time Collins found herself in the spotlight. One of the few remaining moderates in an…

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