Unfastening the Electoral Connection: The Behavior of Representatives when Reelection Is No Longer a Factor

Rebekah Herrick, Michael K. Moore, John R Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While elections are essential to a democracy, it is commonly believed that the desire to secure re-election causes legislators to engage in many undesirable activities. In this note, by comparing the behavior of U.S. representatives who have chosen to run for reelection with those representatives who have decided not to do so, we provide evidence of the precise activities induced by electoral concerns. We find that elections cause members to go back to the district more often, to employ more staff assistants, to attend to roll-call voting more fastidiously, and to be more legislatively active. While these activities are no doubt consistent with the wishes of most constituents, the desire for reelection also encourages members to introduce what is apparently frivolous legislation on topics of little familiarity to the member. Those members who are not running for reelection, on the other hand, are more likely to have a successful and tightly focused legislative agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-227
Number of pages14
JournalThe Journal of Politics
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1994

Fingerprint

election
cause
assistant
voting
legislation
district
democracy
staff
evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Unfastening the Electoral Connection : The Behavior of Representatives when Reelection Is No Longer a Factor. / Herrick, Rebekah; Moore, Michael K.; Hibbing, John R.

In: The Journal of Politics, Vol. 56, No. 1, 02.1994, p. 214-227.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{bc2b02a823634bd19aa96b326a5ef7fb,
title = "Unfastening the Electoral Connection: The Behavior of Representatives when Reelection Is No Longer a Factor",
abstract = "While elections are essential to a democracy, it is commonly believed that the desire to secure re-election causes legislators to engage in many undesirable activities. In this note, by comparing the behavior of U.S. representatives who have chosen to run for reelection with those representatives who have decided not to do so, we provide evidence of the precise activities induced by electoral concerns. We find that elections cause members to go back to the district more often, to employ more staff assistants, to attend to roll-call voting more fastidiously, and to be more legislatively active. While these activities are no doubt consistent with the wishes of most constituents, the desire for reelection also encourages members to introduce what is apparently frivolous legislation on topics of little familiarity to the member. Those members who are not running for reelection, on the other hand, are more likely to have a successful and tightly focused legislative agenda.",
author = "Rebekah Herrick and Moore, {Michael K.} and Hibbing, {John R}",
year = "1994",
month = "2",
doi = "10.2307/2132354",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "56",
pages = "214--227",
journal = "Journal of Politics",
issn = "0022-3816",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Unfastening the Electoral Connection

T2 - The Behavior of Representatives when Reelection Is No Longer a Factor

AU - Herrick, Rebekah

AU - Moore, Michael K.

AU - Hibbing, John R

PY - 1994/2

Y1 - 1994/2

N2 - While elections are essential to a democracy, it is commonly believed that the desire to secure re-election causes legislators to engage in many undesirable activities. In this note, by comparing the behavior of U.S. representatives who have chosen to run for reelection with those representatives who have decided not to do so, we provide evidence of the precise activities induced by electoral concerns. We find that elections cause members to go back to the district more often, to employ more staff assistants, to attend to roll-call voting more fastidiously, and to be more legislatively active. While these activities are no doubt consistent with the wishes of most constituents, the desire for reelection also encourages members to introduce what is apparently frivolous legislation on topics of little familiarity to the member. Those members who are not running for reelection, on the other hand, are more likely to have a successful and tightly focused legislative agenda.

AB - While elections are essential to a democracy, it is commonly believed that the desire to secure re-election causes legislators to engage in many undesirable activities. In this note, by comparing the behavior of U.S. representatives who have chosen to run for reelection with those representatives who have decided not to do so, we provide evidence of the precise activities induced by electoral concerns. We find that elections cause members to go back to the district more often, to employ more staff assistants, to attend to roll-call voting more fastidiously, and to be more legislatively active. While these activities are no doubt consistent with the wishes of most constituents, the desire for reelection also encourages members to introduce what is apparently frivolous legislation on topics of little familiarity to the member. Those members who are not running for reelection, on the other hand, are more likely to have a successful and tightly focused legislative agenda.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84972270524&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84972270524&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2307/2132354

DO - 10.2307/2132354

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84972270524

VL - 56

SP - 214

EP - 227

JO - Journal of Politics

JF - Journal of Politics

SN - 0022-3816

IS - 1

ER -