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"What's In It For Me?": Why Members of Congress Pursue Oversight
Unformatted Document Text:  Taken together, the parameter estimates for the five models displayed in Table 3 show no support for the electoral security hypothesis (H1), and strong support for both thelegislative opportunities (H2-H5) and institutional hypotheses (H6 & H7). 64 Figure 9, below, provides a visual representation of the coefficient estimates and asso- ciated 95% confidence intervals for the full model (Model 5) for the graphically inclined.As this figure shows, the coefficient estimates for H2-H7 are all in the hypothesized direc-tions and meet conventionally accepted levels of statistical significance in this full model.In fact, one may say with at least 95% confidence that: • Committees and subcommittees tend to pursue oversight more vigorously duringperiods of divided government • Subunits with a specific jurisdictional mandate to focus on oversight tend to holdmore oversight hearings • Subunits whose members enjoy fewer legislative successes hold more oversight hear-ings • Subunits whose members have diverse policy preferences devote more time to over-sight • Subunits with greater numbers of junior MCs pursue oversight more vigorously • Subunits whose legislative outputs are rarely protected on the floor hold more fre-quent oversight hearings Regarding my electoral security hypothesis (H1), these models suggest a null finding: that there is no connection between an MC’s margin of victory and her engagement inoversight hearings. 64 In Model 2, the coefficient estimates for H4a & H4b (subcommittee preference heterogeneity, measured as the size of the first and second dimension Common Space interquartile ranges) barely miss convention-ally accepted levels of statistical significance (p=0.066 and p=0.059, respectively). While readers mayinterpret these measures of uncertainly differently, in my opinion these results, when viewed alongsidethe estimates in Model 5 (which do achieve conventionally accepted levels of statistical significance) aregenerally supportive of hypotheses H4a & H4b. 36

Authors: Feinstein, Brian.
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Taken together, the parameter estimates for the five models displayed in Table 3 show
no support for the electoral security hypothesis (H1), and strong support for both the
legislative opportunities (H2-H5) and institutional hypotheses (H6 & H7).
64
Figure 9, below, provides a visual representation of the coefficient estimates and asso-
ciated 95% confidence intervals for the full model (Model 5) for the graphically inclined.
As this figure shows, the coefficient estimates for H2-H7 are all in the hypothesized direc-
tions and meet conventionally accepted levels of statistical significance in this full model.
In fact, one may say with at least 95% confidence that:
Committees and subcommittees tend to pursue oversight more vigorously during
periods of divided government
Subunits with a specific jurisdictional mandate to focus on oversight tend to hold
more oversight hearings
Subunits whose members enjoy fewer legislative successes hold more oversight hear-
ings
Subunits whose members have diverse policy preferences devote more time to over-
sight
Subunits with greater numbers of junior MCs pursue oversight more vigorously
Subunits whose legislative outputs are rarely protected on the floor hold more fre-
quent oversight hearings
Regarding my electoral security hypothesis (H1), these models suggest a null finding:
that there is no connection between an MC’s margin of victory and her engagement in
oversight hearings.
64
In Model 2, the coefficient estimates for H4a & H4b (subcommittee preference heterogeneity, measured
as the size of the first and second dimension Common Space interquartile ranges) barely miss convention-
ally accepted levels of statistical significance (p=0.066 and p=0.059, respectively). While readers may
interpret these measures of uncertainly differently, in my opinion these results, when viewed alongside
the estimates in Model 5 (which do achieve conventionally accepted levels of statistical significance) are
generally supportive of hypotheses H4a & H4b.
36


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