Center for Effective Lawmaking

Inside the 3rd Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking

Inside the 3rd Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking

The Center for Effective Lawmaking hosted its Third Annual Research Conference in early November 2021 at Vanderbilt University. After the pandemic forced the conference originally scheduled in June to be postponed due to safety considerations, there was a lot of energy and excitement. A group of scholars came together on the beautiful campus in downtown Nashville, TN to discuss research surrounding effective lawmaking, The conference featured five presentations of work with titles such as “The Primary Path for Turning Legislative Effectiveness into Electoral Success” and “Open Mouths or Open Minds? Motives for Members of Congress to Deliberate with Constituents.”


This year also marked the first Center for Effective Lawmaking award for best research paper on effective lawmaking. The inaugural award was presented to Marco Battaglini, Valerio Leone Sciabolazza, and Eleonora Patacchini for their 2020 publication in the American Journal of Political Science, entitled “Effectiveness of Connected Legislators.”

With nearly 40 attendees from a variety of backgrounds and institutions across the United States, the conversation surrounding legislative research was lively and engaging. CEL grant recipients from 2020-2021 shared their current findings, and Former House Parliamentarian Tom Wickham delivered the keynote address.


The Center for Effective Lawmaking’s research team has developed three main areas of focus for the research: identification of the characteristics of those who would likely become effective lawmakers once elected; cultivation of effective lawmakers and institutional structures within Congress; and accountability of legislators for their lawmaking effectiveness.

The Center was honored to host the speakers and affiliates the night before at a dinner at President Andrew Jackson’s historic Hermitage. The academic camaraderie encouraged not only during the presentations but also through these social events creates and strengthens a community that can continue to shed light on important topics. The opportunity to allow academics to advance in their research regarding legislative effectiveness is central to the Center’s mission. We look forward to hosting our Fourth Annual Conference at the University of Virginia in June 2022.

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