Abstentions and Social Networks in Congress

44 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2020 Last revised: 8 Jan 2022

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2020

Abstract

We study the extent to which personal connections among legislators influence abstentions in the U.S. Congress. Our analysis is conducted by observing representatives' abstention for the universe of roll call votes held on bills in the 109th-113th Congresses. Our results show that a legislator's propensity to abstain increases when the majority of his or her alumni connections abstains, even after controlling for other well-known predictors of abstention choices and a vast set of fixed effects. We further reveal that a legislator is more prone to abstain than to take sides when the demands from personal connections conflict with those of the legislator's party.

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Suggested Citation

Battaglini, Marco and Leone Sciabolazza, Valerio and Patacchini, Eleonora, Abstentions and Social Networks in Congress (September 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27822, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3692179

Marco Battaglini (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Valerio Leone Sciabolazza

University of Naples

Via Cinthia Monte S. Angelo
Via Cinthia Monte S. Angelo
Naples, 80123
Italy

Eleonora Patacchini

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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