How Do Committee Assignments Facilitate Majority Party Power? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in the Arkansas State Legislature
40 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 16, 2012
We use a natural experiment in Arkansas’ state legislature to reexamine how the committee assignment process facilitates legislative party power. In contrast to the view that parties use committee assignments as significant carrots and sticks to enforce party discipline, we find that the rewards legislators reap from winning their preferred assignments appear meager and that party discipline prevails at typical levels in Arkansas despite that parties do not control assignments there. However, in contrast to other legislatures, disloyal legislators tend to fill powerful committees in Arkansas, suggesting that parties do stack powerful committees with loyalists in legislatures where they can.
Keywords: Legislative committees
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