Center for Effective Lawmaking

The CEL’s 2023 Award for Best Publication on Effective Lawmaking

The CEL's 2023 Award for Best Publication on Effective Lawmaking The Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) was excited to announce the recipient of the 2023 Award for the Best Publication on Effective Lawmaking at our Fifth Annual Research Conference, at Vanderbilt University on June 5, 2023. The recipient of this year’s award is Todd Makse of Florida International University, for his 2022 article in Political Research Quarterly titled “Instant Credibility: The Conditional Role of Professional Background in Policymaking Success.”In this work, Makse posits the hypothesis that lawmakers can gain credibility…

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Policymaking Effectiveness and Inter-Branch Communications in the US House: Some Legislators are Objectively Better than Others

Policymaking Effectiveness and Inter-Branch Communications in the US House: Some Legislators are Objectively Better than Others Collaboration is believed to be essential to how Congress works, and members who build large networks have been regarded as more likely to be entrepreneurial and effective policymakers. Yet less is known about how these same skills carry over to non-policymaking activities. In her research paper, Nicole Kalaf-Hughes, Associate Professor at Bowling Green State University, argues the same skills that make legislators effective producers of policy also influence more representational activities. Using data from…

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CEL Published Paper: The Bipartisan Path to Effective Lawmaking

CEL Published Paper: The Bipartisan Path to Effective Lawmaking The paper “The Bipartisan Path to Effective Lawmaking” was recently published in the Journal of Politics by University of Chicago Press. Authored by Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) Co-Directors Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman, and Laurel Harbridge-Yong - Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and CEL Faculty Affiliate - the paper confronts the puzzle of why bipartisanship is alive and well in Congress, despite notable increases in party polarization and rising primary election threats. The authors found the answer…

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Logrolling in Congress

Logrolling in Congress Logrolling is a form of cooperation among politicians that plays a role in the legislative process, being a manifestation of the web of alliances that legislators make to pass bills for their constituencies. This paper from Professor Marco Battaglini (Cornell University), Assistant Professor Valerio Leone Sciabolazza (Sapienza University of Rome), and Professor Eleonora Patacchini (also Cornell) studies logrolling among members of the U.S. Congress by tracking roll-call votes within bills across five legislatures and politicians’ personal connections made via their alumni networks. The authors document a propensity…

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Are Workers Effective Lawmakers?

Are Workers Effective Lawmakers? Throughout the country's history, some politicians and elites have argued that white-collar Americans are more qualified than working-class Americans to govern. To date, however, relatively little is known about the legislative effectiveness of working-class lawmakers. To address this knowledge gap, Jacob M. Lollis, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, creates a data set merging the occupational background of over 14,000 individual state legislators with their state legislative effectiveness score (SLES) as designed by the CEL. He finds that working-class…

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Deployed to the Hill: How Military Experience Influences Legislative Behavior in Congress

Deployed to the Hill: How Military Experience Influences Legislative Behavior in Congress Military service is often touted as an important benefit for legislating in Congress. With fewer military veterans serving in Congress, candidates with military experience and their supporters often argue that electing more veterans will help reduce legislative dysfunction and gridlock. Are veteran legislators more effective lawmakers than those who have not served in the military? Are they more bipartisan in their legislative activities? Major Joseph Amoroso, an Instructor of American Politics at the United States Military Academy at…

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Congressional Town Halls and Legislative Effectiveness

Town hall meetings have long been a way for constituents to hear from their Representatives and Senators face-to-face, and to likewise raise their most pressing policy concerns.  Is there a tradeoff between legislators spending their time and effort on town halls instead of focusing their energies on other important policymaking activities? New analysis from the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) Faculty Affiliate Andrew J. Clarke and his co-author Daniel Markovits addresses this question by drawing on more than 23,000 town hall meetings over the past eight years.The authors find that the…

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Measuring the Effectiveness of Public Leaders

How do we know if public leaders are effective in their jobs? CEL Co-Director Craig Volden, Faculty Affiliate Laurel Harbridge-Yong, and Grant Recipient Beatriz Rey all contributed their insights as part of a panel discussion and Q&A hosted by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Friday, July 22. They discussed the measurement of effectiveness of lawmakers, as well as how voters and others use effectiveness information to hold elected officials accountable.Watch the panel in its entirety below:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQrwJ9vOKV8

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The CEL’s 2022 Award for Best Publication on Effective Lawmaking

The CEL's 2022 Award for Best Publication on Effective Lawmaking This year, in coordination with our Fourth Annual Research Conference, the Center for Effective Lawmaking was pleased to announce the 2022 Award for Best Publication on Effective Lawmaking. The award was presented to Jesse M. Crosson, Alexander C. Furnas, Timothy Lapira, and Casey Burgat for their 2021 article in Legislative Studies Quarterly, titled "Partisan Competition and the Decline in Legislative Capacity among Congressional Offices.” In this paper, the authors take a deep dive into a new (and original) data set drawn from 236,000 quarterly payroll disbursements by…

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Being an Effective Lawmaker from Day One: A Guide for New Members of Congress

Being an Effective Lawmaker from Day One: A Guide for New Members of Congress The CEL is grateful for the willingness of members of Congress to engage in public service at this crucial time. We congratulate the newly-elected members of the 117th Congress. In conjunction with the start of the new legislative session, we are excited to announce the release of our new and comprehensive New Member Guide.This guide offers our best advice for how new members can become effective lawmakers. We scoured all of the materials presented in previous new…

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