Behavioral Approaches to the Study of Congress

Bruce I. Oppenheimer

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559947
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Behavioral Approaches to the Study of Congress

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This article begins with Robert Peabody's Congress: Two Decades of Analysis. His essay serves as a benchmark to help with the evaluation of the progress in the behavioral study of Congress. It also serves as a means for evaluating how the study of Congress has resulted in a good understanding of the workings of the institution for the past four decades. In this article, the focus is on the strengths and shortcomings of congressional research. It aims to provide a representative overview that will draw appropriate conclusions about the state of behavioral research on Congress and how it has evolved over time. It discusses topics that will illustrate the decline in the study of committees, the linking of the study of process to its policy consequences and the progress in parsing out the influence of constituency, ideology, and party on the members. It also includes topics on the dominant focus of research on the House of Representatives, the insufficient attention given to the Senate, the increasing attention given to institutional change, and the increasing dependency on a limited number of empirical measures and methodological approaches.

Keywords: behavioral study; Congress; study of Congress; congressional research; behavioral research; research

Article.  12233 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Institutions

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