“Some Politics is Local: An Analysis of Constituent Emphasis in the U.S. Congress,” Jaclyn Kaslovsky, Princeton University

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
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Abstract: What influences representational style? Although the representation literature has highlighted the extent to which legislators present themselves as district or nationally oriented, a consistent and replicable measure of representative orientation has so far remained elusive. In this paper, we leverage congressional speech to capture a legislator’s emphasis on local issues. Specifically, we use all available congressional committee hearing transcripts from 1995 to 2018 and examine what types of legislators are more likely to mention local topics during an important step in the policy making process. We also investigate what leads certain legislators to use their constituents as a justification for their preferences to their fellow committee members. Overall, this paper contributes to the study of representation by providing the first systematic analysis of representative orientation in the committee stage, shedding light on what kinds of legislators are most likely to magnify constituent influence in Congress.

Jaclyn Kaslovsky is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University. After her time at Princeton, she will be starting as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Rice University. Jaclyn’s research focuses on Congress, representation, and women in politics. In her current work, she analyzes how senators choose to allocate their resources, including their time and staff, and the effect of these choices on the quality of representation.

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