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On-the-Take at Any Margin? Seniority, Electoral Marginality and Vote-Buying in the U.S. Congress

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Abstract:

Researchers on campaign finance and congressional voting behavior are presented with a paradox. Members of Congress do not appear to systemically favor contributors in their policy votes, yet the contributions from interested parties continue to arrive in record amounts. In a previous article, Fellowes and Wolf (2004) presented evidence suggesting that Members practice "tactical rationality," selecting less obvious policy instruments for rewarding their business campaign contributors. Here we extend that initial analysis by examining the interactions of incumbency and marginality with campaign contributions in influencing congressional votes. We find that experienced incumbents practice tactical rationality more expertly than do new Members. We also find that Members continue to reward business contributors with tax expenditures and regulatory relief even as their seats become increasingly safe. Thus, in subtle and clever ways, Members of Congress appear to be on-the-take at any margin.

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busi (188), member (95), vote (95), contribut (88), expenditur (84), campaign (53), tax (46), margin (44), support (44), polici (37), congress (36), incumb (36), interest (35), model (34), non (34), benefit (33), variabl (32), contributor (32), regulatori (31), effect (30), pro (29),

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Congressional Voting Behavior, Campaign Finance, Elections, Tax Expenditures
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Name: American Political Science Association
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MLA Citation:

Wolf, Patrick. and Fellowes, Matthew. "On-the-Take at Any Margin? Seniority, Electoral Marginality and Vote-Buying in the U.S. Congress" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Hilton Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, Sep 02, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p60255_index.html>

APA Citation:

Wolf, P. and Fellowes, M. , 2004-09-02 "On-the-Take at Any Margin? Seniority, Electoral Marginality and Vote-Buying in the U.S. Congress" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Hilton Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p60255_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Researchers on campaign finance and congressional voting behavior are presented with a paradox. Members of Congress do not appear to systemically favor contributors in their policy votes, yet the contributions from interested parties continue to arrive in record amounts. In a previous article, Fellowes and Wolf (2004) presented evidence suggesting that Members practice "tactical rationality," selecting less obvious policy instruments for rewarding their business campaign contributors. Here we extend that initial analysis by examining the interactions of incumbency and marginality with campaign contributions in influencing congressional votes. We find that experienced incumbents practice tactical rationality more expertly than do new Members. We also find that Members continue to reward business contributors with tax expenditures and regulatory relief even as their seats become increasingly safe. Thus, in subtle and clever ways, Members of Congress appear to be on-the-take at any margin.

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Associated Document Available American Political Science Association
Associated Document Available Political Research Online

Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 25
Word count: 6360
Text sample:
On-the-Take at Any Margin? Seniority Electoral Marginality and Vote-Buying in the U.S. Congress Patrick J. Wolf Associate Professor Georgetown University 3520 Prospect Street NW 4th Floor Washington DC 20007 Matthew C. Fellowes Senior Research Analyst Metropolitan Policy Program The Brookings Institution 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington DC 20036 Paper prepared for the 2004 Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association September 2-5 Chicago IL Panel 22-19 on Money and Congressional Politics. Copyright © the American Political Science Association.
West 1.796 3.924* (2.786) (2.003) Constant 52.985*** 67.069*** (8.320) (5.982) Adjusted R2 .0 6 6 .833 3.980*** 212.020 F-Statistic 424 424 (N) Notes: Effects are displayed as unstandardized regression coefficients. Standard errors appear in parentheses under coefficients. * = significant at p < .10 based upon a two-tailed t-test; ** = p < .05; *** = p < .01.


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