Informational and partisan theories of legislative organization predict that most committees will be representative of their parent chamber and most committee delegations representative of their parent caucus. Unfortunately, despite the universalistic claims of these theories, the preponderance of evidence comes from only one chamber of one legislature: the U. S. House of Representatives. If informational and partisan theories are generalizable beyond the Congress, outlying committees should be rare in state legislatures as well as in the House of Representatives. We use a variety of measures of member preferences (e.g., roll call measures, surveys, constituency characteristics) and simple difference of means tests to explore the generalizability of these theories by examining the prevalence of committee outliers in the lower houses of a sample of 12 states. Consistent with expectations, outlying committees are rare in the state legislatures we sample, especially among important control committees. This provides evidence that informational and partisan models of legislative organization are applicable beyond the U. S. Congress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science