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Collaboration and Lawmaking in the Contemporary United States Senate

  • Author(s): Oleszek, Mark Joseph
  • Advisor(s): Schickler, Eric
  • et al.
Abstract

For the past few decades the spatial model of legislative behavior has been the main conceptual frame for understanding legislative outcomes. That model emphasizes legislators as free-floating and independent ideal points in policy space. What is missing from spatial theory is the essential social nature of legislative life. As Richard Fenno, Nelson Polsby, John Kingdon, Charles Jones and other congressional scholars of their generation taught us, the interactions that occur between and among lawmakers are important and have an independent effect on outcomes. This study explores the interactions and collaborations senators have with one another and the role they play in contemporary Senate lawmaking. Through qualitative interviews and statistical analysis, I show how social dynamics at play in the Senate can inform our view of who wins and who loses in the legislative process.

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