Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 19 > Issue 3

Legislative Organization and Political Representation

Michael P. Olson, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, USA, michael.p.olson@wustl.edu , Jon C. Rogowski, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago, USA, jrogowski@uchicago.edu
Suggested Citation
Michael P. Olson and Jon C. Rogowski (2024), "Legislative Organization and Political Representation", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 19: No. 3, pp 275-305. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00022053

Publication Date: 10 Jun 2024
© 2024 M. P. Olson and J. C. Rogowski
Congress,  Legislatures,  Representation
Congresscommitteeslegislative representation


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In this article:
Committees, Information, and Legislative Behavior 
Electoral Concerns, Policy Expertise, and Legislative Voting Behavior 
Data and Measures 


The emergence of the standing committee system is arguably the most important organizational innovation in the history of the US Congress. Previous scholarship has considered theoretical explanations for the organization of congressional committees and studied the consequences of committee membership for individual legislators. We evaluate how committee membership affects individual legislators' responsiveness to constituency preferences. Using data on issue-specific voting behavior for members of the U.S. House from 1969 to 2011, we show that committee membership reduces legislative responsiveness to constituency preferences on the issue area associated with the committee's policy domain. These results are robust across model specifications, policy areas, and subsets of observations. Our findings provide new evidence about how committee membership affects legislative voting behavior and illustrate how institutional arrangements affect political representation.