Center for Effective Lawmaking


The Center for Effective Lawmaking seeks to identify the characteristics about elected officials that make them more or less effective lawmakers.  Drawing on information about Representatives’ personal backgrounds, education, and prior careers, our research indicates the following:

  • Women (particularly in the minority party) are more likely to effective lawmakers than Men.
  • Legislators who have served in citizen state legislatures are no more likely to be effective than effective than legislators with no prior state legislative experience.  
  • Legislators who have served in more professionalized state legislatures are likely to be more effective than those legislators without any state legislative experience.
  • Bipartisan legislators are likely to be more effective lawmakers. 

We are currently engaged in a number of additional research projects in this space including:

  • Exploring the extent to which educational backgrounds establish the skills and networks that enhance lawmaking effectiveness.
  • Exploring the extent to which effective lawmaking in state legislatures translates into effective lawmaking in Congress.
  • Exploring the extent to which candidates reveal characteristics during their campaigns that can be used to identify them as future effective or ineffective lawmakers once elected.

We collaborate with several other organizations on identification related projects, including the Bipartisan Policy Center, She Should Run, and Running Start.

We serve as the facilitating organization and co-sponsor for all primary and general election debates held at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

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