Personal Vote; Constituency Service and Electoral Independence

Overview

Modern legislators are increasingly motivated to serve their constituents in personal ways. Representatives act like ultimate ombudsmen: they keep in close touch with their constituents and try to cultivate a relationship with them based on service and accessibility. The Personal Vote describes the behavior of representatives in the United States and Great Britain and the response of their constituents as well. It shows how congressmen and members of Parliament earn personalized support and how this attenuates ...

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Overview

Modern legislators are increasingly motivated to serve their constituents in personal ways. Representatives act like ultimate ombudsmen: they keep in close touch with their constituents and try to cultivate a relationship with them based on service and accessibility. The Personal Vote describes the behavior of representatives in the United States and Great Britain and the response of their constituents as well. It shows how congressmen and members of Parliament earn personalized support and how this attenuates their ties to national leaders and parties.

The larger significance of this empirical work arises from its implications for the structure of legislative institutions and the nature of legislative action. Personalized electoral support correlates with decentralized governing institutions and special-interest policy making. Such systems tend to inconsistency and stalemate. The United States illustrates a mature case of this development, and Britain is showing the first movements in this direction with the decline of an established two-party system, the rise of a centrist third party, greater volatility in the vote, growing backbench independence and increasing backbench pressure for committees and staff.

This book is essential for specialists in American national government, British politics, and comparative legislatures and comparative parties.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674663183
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1990
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.15 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Cain is Associate Professor of Political Science, California Institute of Technology

John Ferejohn is Professor of Political Science and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Morris Fiorina is Professor of Government, Harvard University

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Table of Contents

Introduction

I. Constituency Service

1. Member Visibility and Member Images

2. The Nature of Constituency Service

3. Incentives for Serving the Constituency

4. Temporal Change in Constituency Service

II. Constituent Response

5. Unraveling a Paradox

6. Member Behavior and Constituent Response

7. The Personal Vote

III. The Larger implications

8. Particular Interests and General Benefits

9. Implications for Political Institutions

Appendix A. Coding Categories Equated in Comparisons of Open-ended Responses

Appendix B. Problems of Comparability in Open-ended Questions about the Congressional Candidates

Notes

Index

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