Politicians are people, too how personal characteristics influence legislative behavior .

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Fairdosi, Amir Shawn.
Description:122 p.
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330.
URL for this record:http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/10168475
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago.
Notes:Advisor: John Mark Hansen.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Chicago, Division of the Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, 2015.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 76-08(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation examines whether and under what conditions legislators' personal characteristics (such as their former occupation, their race, or their gender) predict what they do in Congress. The first paper investigates whether members' former occupations predict their congressional committee membership, the sorts of legislation they introduce, and the types of bills they cosponsor. The results suggest that former teachers tend to be more active on education issues, veterans more active on military issues, doctors more active on health-related issues, and business-owners more active on commerce and finance-related issues. Most of these effects remain statistically significant even after controlling for various measures of district preferences.
The second and third papers move beyond the question of whether legislators' personal characteristics predict their behavior in Congress and begin to investigate why. In short, these papers find that legislators' personal demographic characteristics matter a great deal in some circumstances but very little in others.The second paper's results suggest that personal characteristics are more likely to predict sponsorships and cosponsorships when legislators find themselves in situations that drain their time and resources---for example, when they live farther from Washington, when they have to campaign for their primary election while Congress is in session, or when they have less experience legislating in Washington. The third paper examines whether the correlation between a legislator's demographic characteristics and their legislative behavior is moderated by the amount of power that legislator holds. These results suggest that, when legislators serve on powerful committees (e.g. Ways and Means, Appropriations), when they serve as the chair or ranking member of their committee or subcommittee, and even when they are quoted more often in the New York Times, their personal characteristics are more likely to predict the sort of policies they pursue in Congress.