Advertisement

Public Choice

, Volume 123, Issue 1–2, pp 217–233 | Cite as

The Impact of Divided Government on Legislative Production

  • James R. Rogers
Article

Abstract

It seems obvious that divided governments should produce less legislation than unified governments. Yet studies have consistently failed to find such an effect. Because almost all existing studies focus on the experience of the U.S. national government, the data have limited analysis to a consideration of executive–legislative division and ignore the impact of division between bicameral chambers. The state-level data set employed in this study is not so limited. The results show that divided legislatures decrease the production of laws by almost 30%. Nonetheless, consistent with previous studies using national-level data, executive–legislative divisions have no impact of legislative production. The reason for this asymmetry is theoretically motivated. Additional hypotheses of interest are also tested, including whether Republican-controlled legislative chambers are more “conservative” than Democratic chambers in the sense of producing fewer laws than their Democratic counterparts.

Keywords

Public Finance National Government Additional Hypothesis Divided Government Unify Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alt, J. E., & Robert C. L. (1994). Divided government, fiscal institutions, and budget deficits: Evidence from the states. American Political Science Review, 88, 811–820.Google Scholar
  2. Bradbury, J. C., & Crain W. M. (2001). Legislative organization and government spending: Cross-country evidence. Journal of Public Economics, 82(3), 309–325.Google Scholar
  3. Bradbury, J. C., & Crain W. M. (2002). Bicameral legislatures and fiscal policy. Southern Economic Journal, 68(3), 646–659.Google Scholar
  4. Brady, D. W., & Volden C. (1998). Revolving gridlock: Politics and policy from Carter to Clinton. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  5. Coker, D. C., & Crain W. M. (1994). Legislative committees as loyalty-generating institutions. Public Choice, 81(November), 195–221.Google Scholar
  6. Cox, G. W., & McCubbins M. D. (1991). Divided control of fiscal policy. In G. W. Cox & S. Kernell (Eds.), The politics of divided government, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cox, G. W., & McCubbins M. D. (1993). Legislative leviathan: Party government in the house. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Crain, W. M. (1979). Cost and output in the legislative firm. Journal of Legal Studies, 8(2), 607–621.Google Scholar
  9. Crain, W. M., Leavens D. R., & Tollison D. R. (1986). Final voting in legislatures. American Economic Review, 76(4), 833–841.Google Scholar
  10. Crain, W. M., & Miller III J. C. (1990). Budget process and spending growth. William and Marry Law Review, 31(Summer), 1021–1046.Google Scholar
  11. Crain, W. M., Shughart II W. F., & Tollison R. D. (1988). Legislative majorities as nonsalvageable assets. Southern Economic Review, 55(4), 303–314.Google Scholar
  12. Crain, W. M., & Tollison R. D. (1982). Team production in political majorities. Micropolitics, 2(1), 111–121.Google Scholar
  13. Cutler, L. N. 1989. Some reflections about divided government. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 18, 485–492.Google Scholar
  14. Davidson, R. H., & Oleszek W. S. (2000). Congress and its members. Washington, DC: CQ Press.Google Scholar
  15. Edwards, G. C. III, Barrett A., & Peake, J. (1997). The legislative impact of divided government, American Journal of Political Science, 41, 545–563.Google Scholar
  16. Fenno, R. F., Jr. (1973). Congressmen in committees. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  17. Fiorina, M. (1996). Divided government (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  18. Gilligan, Thomas W., & Krehbiel K. (1987). Collective decision-making and standing committees: An informational rationale for restrictive amendment procedures. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 3(Fall), 287–335.Google Scholar
  19. Hamilton, A., Madison, J., & Jay, J. (1788/1961). The federalist. Jacob E. Cooke (Ed.). Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hedlund, R. D., & Freeman, P. K. (1981). A strategy for measuring the performance of legislatures in processing decisions. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 6, 87–133.Google Scholar
  21. Howell, W., Adler, S., Cameron, C., & Rieman, C. (2000). Divided government and the legislative productivity of congress, 1945–94. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 25, 285–312.Google Scholar
  22. Karcher v. Daggett (1983). 462 U.S. 725.Google Scholar
  23. Kelley, S. Q. (1993). Divided we govern? A reassessment. Polity, 25, 475–484.Google Scholar
  24. Krehbiel, K. (1992). Information and legislative organization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  25. Krehbiel, K. (1998). Pivotal politics: A theory of U.S. lawmaking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Mayhew, D. R. (1974). Congress: The electoral connection. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Mayhew, D. R. (1991). Divided we govern: Party control, lawmaking, and investigations, 1946–1990. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  28. McCubbins, M. D. (1991). Government on lay-away: Federal spending and deficits under divided party control. In Gary W. Cox & Samuel Kernell (Eds.), The politics of divided government, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  29. Petersen, P. E., & Greene J. P. (1994). Why executive–legislative conflict in the United States is dwindling, British Journal of Political Science, 24, 33–55.Google Scholar
  30. Reynold v. Sims. 1964. 377 U.S. 533.Google Scholar
  31. Rogers, J. R. (1998). Bicameral sequence: Theory and state legislative evidence. American Journal of Political Science, 42(October), 1025–1060.Google Scholar
  32. Rogers, J. R. (2001). An informational rationale for congruent bicameralism. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 13(2), 129–157.Google Scholar
  33. Rogers, J. R. (2002). Free riding in state legislatures. Public Choice, 113(1–2), 59–76.Google Scholar
  34. Rohde, D. W. (1991). Parties and leaders in the post reform house. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  35. Rosenthal, A., & Forth, R. (1978). The assembly line: Law production in American states. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 3, 265–291.Google Scholar
  36. Shughart, W., & Tollison, R. (1986). On the growth of government and the political economy of legislation. Research in Law and Economics, 9, 111–127.Google Scholar
  37. Squire, P. (1997). Membership turnover and the efficient processing of legislation. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 23, 23–32.Google Scholar
  38. State v. Conta, 264 N.W. 2d 538 (Wis. 1978).Google Scholar
  39. Sundquist, J. (1988). Needed: A political theory for the new era of coalition government in the United States, Political Science Quarterly, 103, 613–635.Google Scholar
  40. Thorson, G. R. 1998. Divided government and the passage of partisan legislation, 1947–1990. Political Science Quarterly, 51, 751–764.Google Scholar
  41. Tollison, R. D. (1988). Public choice and legislation. Virginia Law Review, 74(March), 339–371.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationU.S.A.

Personalised recommendations