Measuring Conditional Party Government

  • Aldrich J
  • Rohde D
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Abstract

In this paper, we extend our theory and measurement of conditional party government. We define the “condition” in conditional party government more precisely, offering a formal illustration that indicates how, when the condition is more rather than less well satisfied, the majority party may skew outcomes from the center of the floor toward the center of their party. We then provide a number of measures designed to illustrate variation in the degree to which this condition has been satisfied in post-War Congresses. The evidence suggests that the condition was relatively more fully satisfied in the early post-War years, its degree of satisfaction declined in the 1960s and 1970s, from which point its degree of satisfaction increased. By the mid-1990s, the condition was at a (relative) peak of satisfaction. Finally, we examine variations over time in two variables concerning the intra-legislative party to provide at least a preliminary indication whether partisan rules and powers might have been used to achieve majority party preferred outcomes. As our theory predicts, their use increased as the degree to which the condition was satisfied increased.

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Authors

  • John H Aldrich

  • David W Rohde

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