Congressional Reforms

E. Scott Adler

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

 Congressional Reforms

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This article provides a wide-ranging review of the political science literature on congressional reforms. It traces the historical development of literature and highlights the most significant milestones in reform research. It particularly tracks the transformation to large-N data collection and hypothesis testing in reform research, and the adoption of rational choice models of legislative organization that have guided and dominated contemporary work on the field. The article also emphasizes the long-standing interplay between scholarship and practice of congressional restructuring. It also recounts the significant role congressional scholars have played in defining the reform agenda during its various stages and movements over the twentieth century. The article concludes that although institutional understanding of Congress is now better, the remaining deficiency in the reform agenda is due to the lack of engagement between research based on sophisticated tests of well-developed models of legislative organization and the struggles of lawmakers to cure the institutional problems that affect the legislative body.

Keywords: congressional reforms; historical development; congressional restructuring; reform research; reform agenda

Article.  12005 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Institutions

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