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Competing Gridlock Models and Status Quo Policies

  • Jonathan Woon (a1) and Ian Palmer Cook (a1)

Abstract

Spatial theories of lawmaking predict that legislative productivity is increasing in the number of status quo policies that lie outside the gridlock interval, but because locations of status quo policies are difficult to measure, previous empirical tests of gridlock theories rely on an auxiliary assumption that the distribution of status quo points is fixed and uniform. This assumption is at odds with the theories being tested, as it ignores the history dependence of lawmaking. We provide an alternative method for testing competing theories by estimating structural models that explicitly account for temporal dependence in a theoretically consistent way. Our analysis suggests that legislative productivity depends both on parties and supermajority pivots, and we find patterns of productivity consistent with a weaker, contingent form of party influence than found in previous work. Parties appear to exert agenda power only on highly salient legislation rather than strongly influencing outcomes through voting pressure and party unity.

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Corresponding author

e-mail: woon@pitt.edu (corresponding author)

Footnotes

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Authors' note: A previous version was presented at the Positive Political Theory Mini-Conference at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA. Replication material can be found at the Political Analysis Dataverse (Woon and Cook 2015). Supplementary materials for this article are available on the Political Analysis web site.

Footnotes

References

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Political Analysis
  • ISSN: 1047-1987
  • EISSN: 1476-4989
  • URL: /core/journals/political-analysis
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