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The Effects of High-Information Environments on Legislative Behavior in the US House of Representatives

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Abstract

I show in this article how changes in the information environment have contributed to the nationalization of legislative behavior. Access to technologies like broadband have eroded local news media resources and led to a more partisan electorate. As such, increased connectivity causes legislators to prioritize national interests over the interests of their constituencies, behavior that is traditionally seen as an electoral liability. I use data on the rollout of broadband to relate changes in the information environment faced by legislators due to the 2002 redistricting to their behavior. I find that legislators who faced more informationally connected environments post-redistricting voted more in line with their parties, the president, and aligned interest groups. The results are robust to a specification examining within-member changes in the 108th–111th Congresses. Taken together, these results provide strong evidence that a major contributor to the increasing nationalization of politics is the expansion of access to information.

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APA

Trussler, M. (2020). The Effects of High-Information Environments on Legislative Behavior in the US House of Representatives. Legislative Studies Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12325

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