Center for Effective Lawmaking

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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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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Turning Legislative Effectiveness into Electoral Success

Turning Legislative Effectiveness into Legislative Success The Center for Effective Lawmaking (“CEL”) conducted an in-depth study to explore whether lawmakers in Congress are rewarded in primary elections for their effectiveness. Do effective members win at a greater rate during this time of the electoral cycle? Can they ward off challengers? The answer, for the first time, is clear. And it has obvious impacts on how lawmakers considering reelection should use their time in Congress. Looking at congressional primaries data from 1980-2016 allowed CEL researchers to remove partisan cues and focus…

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How Effective are Party Faction Members in Congress?

How Effective are Party Faction Members in Congress? There is much discussion given today’s political climate about the rise and strength of political factions. As those who are like-minded bind more closely to push through legislation and change, the inclination is to believe that working together in a cohesive faction will wield power to move legislative changes through Congress and the larger the faction the more powerful it is. But is this true? At the Center for Effective Lawmaking, we took an in-depth look at ideological caucuses. Factions (formally referred…

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Meet Our Faculty Affiliate: Gerry Warburg

Meet Gerry Warburg: Practitioner and Beloved Professor Gerald Warburg, a Center for Effective Lawmaking Faculty Affiliate, is a seasoned Congressional practitioner who utilizes his breadth of experience to teach and lead the next generation. Currently, Warburg is a Professor of Practice of Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. His research interests include the study of best practices by non-governmental organizations and the evolution of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policies. Warburg’s professional background encompasses a broad array of public service. He…

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Meet Our Faculty Affiliate: Jennifer L. Lawless

Meet Jennifer L. Lawless: On the Gender Gap in Politics, Advice to Voters, and More CEL faculty affiliate Jennifer L. Lawless is the Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, she was a professor of Government at American University and the Director of the Women & Politics Institute. Professor Lawless’s research focuses on political ambition, campaigns and elections, and media and politics. She is the author or co-author of six books, including Women on the Run: Gender, Media and Political Campaigns in…

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Meet Our Faculty Affiliate: Sarah Treul

Meet Sarah Treul: Living Her Dream to Educate Sarah Treul, an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has spent her eight years at the University focused on the broad idea of American political institutions. As one of our faculty affiliates, Treul’s compelling work on the effect of institutional design and rules on political outcomes is what truly distinguishes her research. Most recently, her research has focused on congressional primary elections and the role of candidate experience in campaigns and in Congress. However,…

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Do Constituents Know (or Care) about the Lawmaking Effectiveness of their Representatives?

Do Constituents Know (or Care) about the Lawmaking Effectiveness of their Representatives? With Election Day quickly approaching, voters everywhere are readying themselves to cast their vote for their candidate of choice. While voters consider a wide array of factors when determining who to vote for, we sought to explore whether a representative’s lawmaking effectiveness might influence a voter’s evaluation of his/her potential choices? Substantial evidence exists that members of the U.S. Congress vary in their lawmaking effectiveness; and many classic studies of congress point to examples of Representatives and Senators…

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