Student Research Paper
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Legislative effectiveness is an inherently amorphous -- even subjective -- concept. Yet, arguably, it is among the most important considerations when evaluating the performance of members of Congress. Using Volden and Wiseman's index, the Legislative Effectiveness Score (LES), I evaluate when ideology informs or predicts effectiveness in passing laws, which I conceptualize as the fundamental role of legislators. In particular, I assess the extent to which centrists are more or less effective than their more partisan peers. I find that, while the number of centrists has declined precipitously, their ideology does not -- at least at the broadest level -- predict their effectiveness in passing legislation. Future research will dig deeper into the underlying question of when centrists are more or less effective, looking at particular Congresses and speakerships to analyze the extent to which centrists' declining numbers result in declining (or perhaps enhanced) effectiveness.
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Pontz, Benjamin, "The Shrinking Center: When Are Centrists More Effective Lawmakers?" (2018). Student Publications. 663.