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How Much Is Majority Status in the U.S. Congress Worth?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2014

Gary W. Cox
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
Eric Magar
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego

Abstract

A key premise of partisan theories of congressional organization is that majority status confers substantial procedural advantages. In this article, we take advantage of changes in party control of the House and Senate, such as that following the Republicans' historic victory in the midterm elections of 1994, to assess the value of majority status in terms of contributions from access-seeking political action committees (PACs). We estimate that majority status in the House was worth about $36,000 per member in receipts from corporate and trade PACs circa 1994—even controlling for the usual factors cited in the literature as affecting members' ability to raise money (such as committee assignments and voting record). The value of majority status in the Senate is even larger in absolute terms, although smaller in proportion to the total amount of money raised. Our results show that majority status is a valuable asset, one worth considerable collective effort to attain.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1999

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