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Prepared for delivery at the 2010 Western Political Science Association meetings, San Francisco, CA. This project would not have been possible without the research assistance of Jeremy Gelman, Bill Jaeger, and Josh Ryan, and the many scholars who made their data available, including Sarah Binder, Fang‐Yi Chiou, Michael Crespin, Bryan Jones, John Lapinski, Michael Malbin, Keith Poole, David Rohde, Andrew Rudalevige, and Larry Rothenberg. We also acknowledge helpful comments from Gerald Gamm, Charles Shipan and Craig Volden. Laurel Harbridge co‐authored an early paper related to this project presented at the 2003 American Political Science Association meetings.
How Policies Evolve E. Scott Adler University of Colorado firstname.lastname@example.org John Wilkerson University of Washington email@example.com
How Policies Evolve
Abstract Legislatures rely on specialist committees to oversee and recommend updates to existing programs. Although these activities ultimately benefit the legislature, why committees invest in them is not fully understood. We propose an explanation that begins with the fact that agenda access is a valued commodity. A committee ordinarily has little reason to expect the legislature to reserve valuable floor space for policy maintenance activities – there will always be more urgent issues demanding attention. When the legislature includes a short‐term authorization in a law, however, it signals a commitment to taking up the committee’s recommendations for revisions of that law at a future date. We find that in the modern era, as governing demands have increased, program reauthorizations have become a central focal point for policy change efforts in Congress. We test this using a unique dataset that measures the degree of change in numerous different policy areas over time and find that program expirations are one of the most consistent and robust explanations for policy change.
Introduction It would be easy to conclude from media coverage of Congress that lawmakers are deeply divided about legislative priorities. Democrats favor one set of legislative items, while Republicans prefer a different set. Legislative theorizing also leads us to expect that lawmakers’ policy preferences determine the legislative policy agenda. In truth, many of the issues that Congress takes up are easy to predict, regardless of the party in control. As the federal bureaucracy has grown and Congress’ governing obligations have become more complex and demanding, the legislative agenda is increasingly consumed by renewals of expiring legislation –reauthorizations. Thus, it is not a surprise to learn that nutritional standards and food programs for children are a priority of President Obama in 2010, just as they were a priority of President Bush in 2004. In each of those years, the Child Nutrition Act was scheduled for renewal. Legislative reauthorizations begin when Congress passes a law that includes a policy provision authorizing a program (or funding for that program) for a limited duration. These temporary or short‐term authorizations can serve many different purposes (Hall 2004). In this paper, we focus on the role that reauthorizations play in promoting governing ‐ consistent management and decision‐making processes that help to promote cohesive and effective policies. The motivation, we argue, is an electoral one. When good public programs “go bad,” incumbent lawmakers risk being held accountable at the polls. This possibility creates incentives to support a policy early warning mechanism that is the congressional committee system. Yet it is not at all obvious why individual lawmakers make investments in costly oversight activities and long‐term policy making given that the benefits will be broadly distributed (Mayhew 1974). We propose a game theoretic model that shows how short term authorizations promote governing behavior by reserving valued agenda space for the committee that invests in oversight and legislative updating. This governing model has a number of implications for legislative organization, agenda setting, and policy change. It predicts that policymaking in Congress will be committee‐centered, and that policy change revolves around program reauthorizations. In a previous paper, we confirmed that 2
In this paper. it that committees have little reason to believe that program reviews and updates will be high on the legislature’s list of priorities. for example. While we do not dispute that such incentives are important. in contrast. A Governing Dilemma It is widely appreciated that reelection concerns can lead lawmakers to behave in ways that are costly to the institution and possibly their own long‐term careers. Yet it is also true that legislators do more than position‐take and credit‐claim. Rational legislators (and committees) have incentives to focus on the issues that are deemed to be chamber priorities when only a limited number of issues can be considered in a legislative term. Kingdon 1989. Krutz 1998). Public policy research has long pointed to reauthorizations as important “focusing events” in the lawmaking process but has not studied their impact in a systematic way. Scholars typically point to “side payments” in the form of biased policies or unique credit claiming opportunities (if the content of the side payment is discussed at all. that committees devote much of their time and resources to overseeing existing government programs – to “governing” (Walker 1977. Legislative theorizing frequently emphasizes short‐term electoral motivations as central to understanding the organization of Congress and the behavior of its members (Mayhew 1974). There will always be urgent issues demanding attention. Expirations of existing programs are the best predictors of the policy changes enacted by Congress. we believe that another important incentive has received less attention than it deserves – access to the floor. whether they originate in 3 . Congressional scholarship. Plenary agenda space is a scarce and valued commodity (Cox 2008). we investigate the extent to which reauthorization schedules dictate policy change in Congress. has tended to highlight preferences as central to understanding how issues get on the agenda and the laws that are passed. The problem. Shepsle and Weingast 1987. We know. Smith 2006). where governing is concerned. Hall 1990.committee members sponsor nearly all successful important bills enacted by Congress (Adler and Wilkerson 2005). Why do committee members invest in activities that benefit the legislature? The incentives that lead lawmakers to invest in collectively beneficial activities are not well understood. Krehbiel 1991. We systematically study two decades of policy change across 27 issue areas.
1 2. the legislature’s governing dilemma is that it wants committees to invest in program oversight in order to avoid such problems in the first place. Adjustments to existing programs. The dilemma is reflected in the model’s assumption that the chamber is better off allocating scarce plenary time to other. 4 3. usually lack the same sense of urgency – they can almost always be put off until next year. The Governing Game Committee Table 1 portrays this game in simultaneous form based on the assumption that the committee chair must decide to invest without knowing whether the chamber will set aside plenary time at a future date. The leadership must then decide whether to allocate scarce plenary time to the issue at some point in the distant future (Cox 2008). more seemingly urgent issues. the chamber’s payoffs are higher when the committee invests. Higher values indicate more preferred outcomes (the committee’s payoffs are on the left). because program oversight can reveal problems before they harm Congress’ collective reputation. 3 1. Thus. Knowing this. Table 1. Of course. 2 4 . The committee chair must decide whether to invest scarce resources into reviewing and making policy recommendations on a given issue. The message to committees is clear: do not devote time to existing programs unless the problem is big enough to compel the attention of the legislature. The Governing Game The governing dilemma introduced above can be illustrated by a non‐zero sum game between two legislative entities ‐ the committee that possesses primary jurisdiction over an issue and the legislative chamber. The committee’s payoffs are higher when the chamber provides plenary time to consider its proposed program revisions. in contrast. the committee chooses to focus its Invest Don’t invest Chamber Plenary time No plenary time 4.electoral politics or external crises.
Table 2. Congress makes an enforceable commitment to governing by including temporary authorizations in Invest Don’t invest Chamber Plenary time (4 + b). (2‐c) 5 .energies on activities other than oversight and updating programs. Alternatively. then the chamber will not renege. that the legislature and committee entered into a contract that included an enforceable penalty if the chamber reneged. If c is large enough (in the example. a different outcome is possible if the chamber can be persuaded to keep its promise. the upper left “governing” outcome. 3 3. and the legislature loses its policy early warning system and ability to sustain constituent satisfaction. Suppose. Thus. 1 No plenary time (1 + b). though it is assumed to be better for both players than the lower right outcome. the chamber incurs a cost c if it fails to set aside plenary time as promised. greater than or equal to 1). (4‐c) 2. This is where temporary authorizations come in. If the chamber can avoid the penalty (or avoid paying the benefit) then the contract is not worth the paper it is written on. This equilibrium outcome (lower right) is worse for both players than the outcome where the chamber provides plenary time and the committee invests (upper left). and is enforceable. the committee will invest. However. for example. the contract could include a provision where the chamber promises to provide a side payment (b) that leads the committee to invest regardless of whether the chamber ultimately provides plenary time (b would need to be greater than or equal to 3 in the example). A non‐cooperative solution to this dilemma requires that the players’ equilibrium be individually rational. In the modified game presented in Table 2. cannot be sustained because the chamber will subsequently renege on a promise to provide plenary time (barring a crisis). The Governing Game with Externally Enforced Sanctions Committee A key requirement for either contract is that the penalty or benefit must be enforceable. Knowing this.
these include the enormous farm bill. The implicit promise is enforceable because the legislature must act if it wants to preserve the program. such as the Child Nutrition Act. Knowing that its recommendations are likely to be considered. rural utilities. In the case of the Child Nutrition. specified. frequent reauthorizations mean that less time will be available for other legislative initiatives (Walker 1977. On the other hand. lobbyists) can predict when a concerted investment in devising new nutritional guidelines is most likely to pay off and when it will be a waste of time and resources.legislation. Whether the chamber ultimately provides plenary time will depend on many things that can be captured by the model’s parameters. 83‐84) note that having to revisit a program encourages authorizing committees to engage in oversight and to use the leverage associated with a reauthorization to influence agencies and the Appropriations committees. (The House and Senate both prohibit unauthorized appropriations. Aberbach (1990) and Cox (1996. When Congress sunsets a program that members support. Temporary authorizations can serve many purposes (Hall 2004).) while remaining responsive to more immediate informational demands. commodity futures trading commission. date. How Policies Evolve 6 . legislators (including committee members) and outside interests (the president. etc.) Temporary authorizations have additional benefits as well. This self‐ imposed cost promotes more governing behavior than would otherwise be predicted by moving the issue up the priority list. Evans 2001). 87. in the Agriculture Committee. the committee of jurisdiction has an incentive to invest in governing activities. but the main argument for their increased use is that they enhance the policy influence of the committee of jurisdiction. it makes an implicit promise to take the issue up again at a future. Cox 1996. The main point is that a chamber decision to include a program sunset in legislation at T‐1 alters the decision calculus of a future Congress at T. This predictability is particularly valuable for the committees of jurisdiction who must oversee scores of existing programs in their portfolios (for example. The cost of reneging is high – popular programs like the special milk and school breakfast programs die.
because maintaining existing programs has become a central preoccupation of lawmaking. Temporary authorizations motivate committees to invest in policy maintenance activities by making it costly for the legislature to delay consideration of the issue at a future point in time. this research has tended to study change within selected policy subsystems or demonstrated the importance of a particular variable without fully controlling for alternative explanations. This can be problematic on two different levels. However. Studying policy change requires a methodology where the unit of analysis is the broader policy rather than a particular legislative vehicle or law. Kelly 1993. As mentioned. we expect expirations to be a central predictor of policy change in Congress. These recent studies have profoundly advance scholarly understanding of the dynamics of lawmaking. Congress will take up childhood nutrition in the 111th Congress not because President Obama and Michelle Obama have made obesity and good nutritional habits part of their public agenda. Nutritional programs are on the agenda because the Child Nutrition Act is scheduled to expire. While clearly providing richer perspectives on policymaking than are often found in legislative studies. and shifts in enactment production by subject matter (Lapinski 2008 and Clinton and Lapinski 2006). Birkland 1997. Howell et al. or because the majority party has declared it a policy priority. For one. What followed are a small number of important works exploring “significant revisions” to the major laws identified by Mayhew (Maltzman and Shipan 2008). Furthermore. The dynamics of policy change have long been a subject of public policy research (Kingdon 1995. see also Patashnik 2008). Kingdon (1995.Our argument about how policies evolve in Congress should now be fairly obvious. see also Hall 2004) highlights reauthorizations as potentially important legislative focusing events. Grant and Kelly 2008). Burden. 2000. The lineage of this research can be largely traced initially to interest in understanding legislative productivity (Mayhew 1991. Binder 2003. Alternatively. A farm 7 . a small but growing body of work by congressional scholars test theories of statutory change using large‐N datasets. the durability and instability of federal discretionary programs (Berry. Patashnik 2008). Krehbiel 1998. Baumgartner and Jones 1993. and Howell 2006. Coleman 1997b. a single law can include many policy provisions. they also direct our attention to statutes instead of policies. or because increasing numbers of lawmakers are introducing bills on the subject.
pilot records. Studying changes to just one of these laws would provide and incomplete account of the evolution of aviation policy. while programs such as the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings. and the Airport Environmental Program exist within different governmental agencies (for example. To study policy change in Congress requires a methodology for tracing changes within a policy domain over time. If confirmed. code). Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings is solely within the DoT. not the FAA). We propose to study policy change using the large‐N approach common to congressional scholarship. not program. we focus on the policy changes that are contained in the ensemble of statutes Congress produces.org).bill. laws) are classified into major topics and subtopics. 1 8 . Human annotators working on the PAP are specifically instructed to classify events by issue. policies are often the product of many laws. Thus. Federal aviation policy derives from the Federal Airport Act of 1946. this hypothesis supports an alternative perspective on lawmaking that highlights governing goals as central to appreciating congressional organization and operations. we chose a subset that is diverse and The Policy Agendas Project (PAP) was designed to enable scholars to trace changing government attention to issues over time and across venues (www. the Federal Aviation Act of 1948. among many other things.1 Given our interest in assessing the impact of program reauthorizations on the legislative agenda.S. the Airport and Airways Development Act of 1970 and the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 – in addition to other statutes addressing airline insurance. hearings. includes policy provisions supporting farmers as well as promoting school lunch programs. Airlines. Studying Policies At their essence. We draw on a well‐established research program that divides the entire government policy agenda into 19 major topics and 224 subtopics – the Policy Agendas Project (PAP). all bills regarding these programs would be assigned to the Airports. Because legislation defines much of the government's policy authority (via the U. air traffic management. For another. Events (bills. the Airport and Airways Trust Fund. for example. We ask: What variables best explain legislative action across a wide spectrum of active policy arenas? We hypothesize that the reauthorizations process plays a much more central role in promoting policy innovation in Congress than is indicated in existing research on statutory change. etc.policyagendas. Air Traffic Control and Safety subtopic (subtopic 1003). policies are statements about what a government intends or does not intend to do. which is under the Transportation major topic (topic #10).
academics. then we need to sum articles about policy provisions in different statutes that address the same topic. The issues that are covered are generally more consequential: CQ’s on‐line archive describes the Almanac as offering “[a]n unbiased look at the issues that mattered most in a given year. The classification refers to the policy area emphasized in the article. For example. The Policy Agendas Project classifies every article in CQ for primary PAP subtopic. and appropriations laws. if our objective were to measure the importance of the statute. we turn to the assessments of a consistent set of professional analysts of Congress – the editors of the Congressional Quarterly Almanac (hereafter “CQ”). In such a case. We are exclusively interested in its coverage of enactments. Then. lobbyists. This is a very distinct methodology than is required when the goal is to study statutory change. 2 9 . our approach sums the Starting with the universe of all laws enacted between 1980‐1998. The bulk of each annual volume is devoted to reporting on legislative actions that occurred during the previous year. using the size of coverage in Congressional Quarterly Almanac. the various CQ articles allow us to trace the different policy changes contained within the law. and therefore warrant multiple articles in CQ.legislatively active – specifically. For example.” CQ covers a range of congressional actions. defense. A second subtopic was selected from each major topic if it was also in the top 50 subtopics for CQ coverage. This was the primary reason for temporarily excluding subtopics such as employee benefits (503) and tax policy (107). it is not always easy to locate the laws where relevant policy changes occur. This is critical because a single law can serve as the vehicle for many different policy revisions. if we are interested in policy change. and not the emphasis of the law referenced in the article. we selected the subtopics in every major topic with the most coverage. we filtered out all enactments solely dealing with the budget. Alternatively. As discussed later on.2 [Table 3 about here] Dependent Variable: A Measure of Policy Change To measure change in each of these policy areas in a given congressional term. and other congressional observers. CQ is an annual compilation directed at an elite audience of policymakers. a stratified sample that includes the top two subtopics of each major PAP topic area (see Table 3). All told. Most legislative proposals and laws are not covered by CQ. the subtopics selected accounted for 67 percent of all non‐appropriations enactment coverage in CQ. and included discussion of 576 separate laws enacted during this period. if the topic were food inspection and safety. then we would want to sum up all of the articles addressing that one enactment.
40). 4 The amount of CQ coverage per statute is one of the twenty “ratings” of legislative significance used by Clinton and Lapinski. 10 . The spikes indicate. 1991. two‐ thirds (32) of the top 50 statutes by CQ coverage are also on Mayhew’s list.3 Table 4 lists the top ten statutes by CQ coverage – eight of which also appear on Mayhew’s list. For the period 1981‐2000. which along with Department of Defense authorizations make up a very large proportion of the CQ coverage and are both excluded from this count. [Figure 1 about here] Mayhew’s widely used list of historic statutes enacted since World War II includes what he considers the most “innovative and consequential” legislation passed each congressional term (1991. However.” Figure 1 illustrates our initial expectations using the case of highway construction laws (subtopic 1002). it is possible to ask whether total coverage of laws in CQ compares favorably to established indicators of law “importance. [Table 4 about here] Clinton and Lapinski (2006) offer another point of comparison. and 1998). 37). This is the case. that total CQ article lines for PAP subtopic 1002 spikes in the years that Congress passed massive transportation laws (1987.coverage (in lines of text) of the articles in one congressional term addressing food inspection policy changes across all laws. We are not aware of any alternative measure that might be used to assess its validity and reliability. One likely question about relying on articles is whether lines of coverage are valid indicators of the degree of policy change. Although scholars debate the completeness of Mayhew’s list (he only selects about 8‐15 statutes per term). as expected. Their methodology combines assessments by twenty “raters” with known benchmarks of the legislative process to generate a “significance” score for each law enacted since 1789. we expect that a good portion of the most important statutes defined in terms of CQ article lines by will also be on Mayhew’s list of innovative and consequential laws.4 They define a 3 Importantly Mayhew excludes appropriations from his list (1991.
Hall 2004). The advantage of the CQ score. By the 1970s. Congress began to use temporary authorization more frequently in foreign and defense policymaking. majority party coalitions. salient events. Whenever possible. these results offer good reasons to conclude that CQ article lines are solid indicators of the degree of policy change occurring within a policy area in a given congressional term.significant law as “a statute or constitutional amendment that has been identified as noteworthy by a reputable chronicler‐rater of the congressional session” (Clinton and Lapinski 2006). The Pearson correlation between the two measures is a solid . after World War II (Cox 1996. Program Expirations Authorizations for the existence of federal programs and agencies were almost always permanent until the mid 20th century. policy preference coalitions. We correlated their scores with raw CQ article lines for 3000 statutes enacted between 1969 and 1996. “Nine out of ten times. We group them into seven categories: program expirations.59. Independent Variables The question that we turn to now is: what leads to policy change in Congress? The extant literature on statutory change suggests many potentially important predictors. we use the same measures employed in prior studies of lawmaking (and in some cases test multiple specifications). then we could simply use the Clinton and Lapinski score. If each law only addressed single policy area. Table 5 provides a complete list of variables and measurement/data sources. it was estimated that over 25 percent of all enactments were re‐authorizations of existing programs. Given that no indicator perfectly measures the significance or importance of a statute. One committee staffer told Kingdon. is that it allows us to study policies separately from statutes. and policyspecific effects. and then in domestic policymaking. Reauthorizations also became the central focus of many committees. however. interbranch influences. 91. committee effects. For some variables we were forced to make adjustments or substitutions given that our focus was on policies rather than laws. we’re occupied with expiring [Table 5 about here] 11 .
Sometimes failure is an outcome the legislature is willing to accept. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) produces an accounting of expiring authorizations each year.legislation. As our model contends. but extended it despite considerable controversy over the preclearance requirement – one the acts primary enforcement mechanisms. Policy areas also differ in the way temporary authorizations are used. see also Walker 1977. but we determined it was not sufficient for our purposes. frankly. Thus. In 2006. However. Although the law contained many pages of authorizing language. Because an enumeration of specific expiring provisions is not central to their effort. For some policy areas. Counting expiring provisions is no simple task. the Republican‐controlled Congress allowed the federal assault weapons ban. however. The 1980 “Comprehensive Environmental Response. only the keystone of the law – the “Superfund” tax on the petroleum and chemical industry – was sunsetted. but with no discernable consistent methodology (private conversation with the CBO official who was responsible for creating this report in 2003). as is true for the massive “farm bill.5 Our technique for identifying expiring provisions 5 The CBO collects a data set of expiring authorizations by combing each new statute at the end of the congressional term and creating a list of provisions that expire at some time in the future (MacDonald 2007). different provisions from the same law can expire in different years. we simply add up the number of expiring provisions falling within a given subtopic for each congressional term. Ultimately. enacted by a Democratic Congress in 1994. but. the enormous 12 . incumbent legislators have little interest in seeing federal programs die. it might make sense to distinguish expiring provisions by the significance of the provision that is sunsetted. 186. there may be dozens of expiring provisions in other laws. reauthorizations compel legislative attention because the reversion point is not the status quo but is usually a program’s dissolution. Sinclair 1986). Alternatively. the Republican Congress had the option of letting the Voting Rights Act die. and Liability Act” (CERCLA) gave the federal government authority to clean up hazardous and toxic waste sites and hold the polluting entities accountable. that’s the truth” (Kingdon 1995. Most of the time. I know that doesn’t sound very inspiring. In 2004. the CBO aggregates separate expiring provisions. Although they may disagree about preferred solutions. by the CBO’s account.” To make matters even more complicated. to expire. Compensation. a single expiring provision may incorporate the bulk of the enabling language of a statute. in this paper. there is often general consensus that federal programs are important.
construction workers and many others suffer when highway projects are delayed” (Abrams 2008). We read the same law and found over 100 expiring provisions. out of money. and Noise Pollution”). 7 of which were to sunset in 1995 or 1996. By shifting the policy status quo. This “rescue package” was prompted by a rapid decline in federal gas tax revenues brought about by higher gas prices.” said Rep. “How important?” is the primary question of this study. such as higher education and agriculture. ”Air pollution. Global Warming. A second sweep followed where we searched the on‐line CQ Almanac and LexisNexis Congressional Histories to ensure that we did not overlook other relevant expirations contained in laws not found within the subtopic (e. almost 1600 expiring provisions were identified across the 27 subtopics (see Table 3). Our state and local governments. “We must act. Externally induced shocks can have the same effect. 11. Salient Events and Policy Mood Program expirations can be thought of as institutionally‐induced shocks.g. documenting the provisions that included explicit expiration dates. Our third sweep then excluded expiring provisions contained in relevant laws that were primarily concerned with other subtopics. and prompted Congress to pass legislation strengthening environmental safeguards (Birkland 1997). Although no formal deadline compelled farm bill passed in 1990 included 15 expiring provisions. a bipartisan Congress sent legislation to the White House transferring $8 billion dollars from the general fund to the highway trust fund. drivers. For the 1980‐1998 study period. 2008. or enacted even earlier than our 1975 cut‐off. omnibus laws). 66 of which were to sunset in 1995 or 1996. Outrage over the Exxon Valdez oil spill killed a promising effort to open the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. We then combed each statute line by line.g. In other policy areas. These data make clear that in some issue areas policymaking is not driven by a recurring calendar of reauthorizations (e. they move issues up the legislative agenda. On Sept. 13 . “[t]he trust fund is broke. expiring provisions seem to be an important part of the policymaking story.begins with the CBO methodology of identifying all statutes within our subtopics. we do this for laws enacted at any point during or in the five years prior to the study period (1980‐1998). John Lewis (D‐GA).
offer at least a broad indication of the percentage of the public that considers a given issue (e. Binder’s insights indicate that editorial writers see themselves as capturing issues on the rise and putting them “on people’s radar screen” (37). Voters are not consistently polled on specific issues over time (Stimson 1999). the economy) the “most important” problem.g. they evoked a similar collective sense of urgency among lawmakers who perceived that the public expected them to respond with legislation. our measure of salience is continuous instead of dichotomous. 37). salience. rather than public. the PAP has compiled and coded into topic categories the Gallup organizations series of MIP data. it is reasonable to see Times editorials as a measure of elite. MIP data are of limited value for ranking changing public concern about a wide array policy areas that may never register to any significant degree as the “most important problem” (Wlezien 1995). In addition. We code the brief (less than one sentence) editorial descriptions she develops by PAP subtopic. Again.action in these cases. Since most un‐authored editorials are of approximately the same length. As a result. Binder turns to newspaper editorials (specifically The New York Times) as a “proxy for the public or political salience of the issue. 14 . This means that we can classify editorial attention for whether it addresses the specific issue areas of our study. Despite reservations. we include the more direct estimate of public sentiment regarding the major political issues of the day: the “most important problem” (MIP) survey questions asked by many polling organizations. the polling question is not nuanced enough to give us the levels of salience for subtopics. but these surveys only indicate the percentage of the public that considers a given issue (e. the economy) the “most important” problem facing the nation. There are complications in devising a continuous measure of public demand for policy change by issue area. Therefore.g. if consistently polled. Though we use it as a rough indicator of the publics’ general sentiment regarding the salience of broad categories of policies in a given congressional term. Binder’s approach is highly detailed. we use the number of editorials addressing a subtopic in a given congressional term as our proxy for the public salience of the issue. “Most important problem” survey data exist. These survey data. Alternatively. a proxy that can be used to divide the agenda into progressive levels of significance” (Binder 2003.
Binder (2003) has emphasized the role that divergence of preferences across the two chambers plays in the policy making capacity of Congress. Finally to capture the public’s general tolerance or enthusiasm for policy change we employ Stimson’s measure of the public “mood” (Stimson 1999). This is another way to capture how external conditions may influence the legislative agenda as well as the likelihood of policy change. existing laws are less likely to be revised (Brady and Volden 1998). and uses a one chamber polarization score as a proxy for polarization in both chambers.6 Majority Party Coalitions Also commonplace in the literature on congressional organization is the notion that partisan majorities are central to explaining policy change (Cox and McCubbins 1993. (B) A gauge of the overall shift in lawmaker interest in particularly issue areas. In contrast to The New York Times editorials that gauge support for change in specific policy areas. Lapinski (2008) proposes that partisan polarization serves as a short cut to capturing the dynamics of the gridlock interval. we address divided government below). Alternatively. This gridlock interval is central to understanding variations in policy accomplishment over time (Chiou and Rothenberg 2003. Maltzman and Shipan succinctly state “laws are less likely to be amended when partisan control of government is divided and when the House and Senate have distinct policy preferences” (2008. 259‐60. 2006). 15 . For this we measure aggregate shifts in the percent of total bills introduced by all members that are devoted to a specific major topic area (House only). 6 Additional measures of shifts in policy preferences used but not reported in our tables include: (A) Choiu and Rothenberg’s four measures of the gridlock interval. Stimson finds that the likelihood of policy change is influenced by public support for government programs in general. These spatial perspectives on lawmaking contend that as the gap between the policy preferences (read: ideology) of the pivotal actors widens. Policy Preference Coalitions It is very common for scholars to argue that the configuration of lawmakers’ preferences in combination with institutional arrangements determine which policy status quos are candidates for change (Krehbiel 1998). public mood gauges preferences for more or less government action in the domestic arena.
the more resources at its disposal to make changes to law. Ideally. Although the underlying foundation is still preference‐oriented. to encapsulate the priorities of the majority party during a particular term we would turn to an articulation of the majority agenda. Burden. traditional techniques for constructing majority party agendas that are reliant on roll call voting patterns (Cox and McCubbins 1993) suffer from huge endogeniety problems. and Howell (2006) assert that the durability of federal programs can be explained by alterations in partisan composition or partisan strength of the enacting majority. who has spent considerable time working in the offices of party leaders in the House of Representatives. (B) A measure of the net gain of seats for the majority party in both chambers. Berry. These perspectives also suggest that the majority party will emphasize a particular set of issues to which it has a close affinity to or are the momentary priorities of leadership and/or rank‐and‐file members. May 2009). Woon and Pope 2007. Moreover. Lapinski (2008) makes a similar argument that the larger the majority party advantage. Larry Evans (personal communication. Unfortunately.2005). such a clear list of priorities is an extremely rare event in American history. We include such a measure for each chamber.7 Though we have not seen use of these sources previously in the literature. we construct a start‐of‐the‐term majority agenda from two sources: the speech given by the Speaker of the House immediately following his/her election to the post and the first ten bills introduced in the House of Representatives (which are traditionally reserved to the Speaker to propose the majority’s priority items). parties have the advantage of agenda control to the extent that party members exercise discipline. Petrocik 1989). Table 6) constructs a reasonable set of priorities for the majority party at that time. 16 . 8 Additional measures of majority party coalitions used but not reported in our tables include: (A) an alternative gauge of majority party priorities that accounts for the correspondence between the majority party and issues it “owns” – those seen by the public as issues that one or the other party handles well (Pope and Woon 2008. as the Republicans offered in the “Contract With America” for the 104th Congress. As an alternative.8 [Table 6 about here] Committee Effects 7 These two sources were suggested to us by Prof. the technique applied to one congressional term (the 106th Congress.
committees are not simply tools of the parties or beholden to the chamber median – they possess independent “committee power. Additionally. Howell. our measure of committee preference change is the absolute difference in Poole and Rosenthal’s Common Space scores for the median committee member from one term to the next. Malbin and Rudalevige have created a database of presidential messages regarding legislation or potential legislation. Numerous scholars have addressed the argument that divided government dampens legislative productivity (Binder 2003. and Riemann 2000. we first define the primary committee of jurisdiction as the one that receives the majority of bill referrals in the issue area for our period of study. presidents may have a positive impact on the agenda through the issues they choose to champion (Binder 2003. we also take account of the possibility that Congress can be prompted into action by decisions made by the courts within specific realms of policy (Barnes 2004. Maltzman and Shipan 2008). We assume that issues that are mentioned more often are more important to the President. Many studies assert that committees and their chairs control the pace and direction of policy change within their jurisdictions (Deering and Smith 1997. Following the suggestion of Maltzman and Shipan (2008). Fenno 1973. Mayhew 1991. aggregated across the House and Senate committees of jurisdiction. Adler. Eskridge 1991). By these accounts. In our view. so to do its preferences and policy change becomes more likely. Rudalevige 2002).” Therefore. Our measure of leadership change is whether the committee chairman of the current term differs from that of the previous term. as the composition of a committee changes. messages provide a better measure of the issues on the president’s radar screen than State of the Union addresses. Weingast and Marshall 1988). The PAP has coded the Spaeth Supreme Court decision database using the same set of policy topics. To assess the effect of committee composition changes. Moreover. Following the 17 . Interbranch Influences The other side of Pennsylvania Avenue is undoubtedly critical for understanding policy change (Jones 1994). We then test two indicators of committee change. We classify presidential messages by PAP subtopic to construct a measure of presidential issue priorities by term. Cameron.
We pursue two strategies for modeling the data. 257). MacDonald’s (2007) argues in his analysis of the factors influencing the reauthorization of expiring laws. we consider the measure of policy change a count variable. a number of studies assert that the contentiousness or divisiveness of the policy area is meaningful for the prospects of policy change. Policyspecific Conflict Finally. polarization helps to push certain bills forward in the House. For example. In addition. Maltzman and Shipan argue that. “divisive laws are less likely to be protected against future laws” (Maltzman and Shipan 2008. that more conflictual policies are less likely to be renewed. Thus it is possible that policy areas experiencing political division are less stable and therefore more likely to produce change. and adopt a Poisson technique particularly well suited to addressing overdispersion – negative binomial. where minority party support is often critical for success. Following Binder (2003). or that change in policy areas experiencing political upheaval is less likely because building a winning coalition is more difficult. we focus on the degree Supreme Court activity in each subtopic for the three years prior to each congressional term. because of the excessive number of observations that are zero for the dependent variable (no lines of CQ coverage) we employ a zero‐inflated version of negative binomial (the zinb 18 . That is.lead of Maltzman and Shipan. the dependent variable is the amount of enactment coverage (by printed lines) in the Congressional Quarterly Almanac (CQ) within each selected subtopic per congressional term. In the first. On the other hand. Our focus on policy change instead of statutory change compels us to develop new measures of contentiousness. but can hurt a bill’s progress in the Senate. Binder (2003) seems to adopt both possibilities when she examines the partisan polarization of issues. we measure issue specific partisan polarization by the frequency of party unity votes on legislation related to a given issue area during the preceding congressional term. Analysis To recap.
We begin with a focus on the variables that seem to be consistently predictive of the degree of policy change regardless of model specification.10 Ultimately. we know that Congress sometimes fails to In all cases a Vuong test indicated that the zero‐inflated negative binomial model was a better fit to the data than the standard negative binomial model. For both modeling approaches we test a number of combinations of different variables. In no instances were there statistically significant variables other than the ones reported in the two tables. we control for the occasional instances where the dependent variable takes on relatively high values thus causing heteroskedasticity by log‐transforming it (zero values are a given a very low value). we ignore the possibility that lines of CQ coverage require an adjustment for count data. we estimate the models with both fixed‐effects and clustering on policy subtopic. the findings were nearly identical for the two different modeling approaches. We highlight the variations below. (Coefficients for the fixed effects are not reported in the tables. These are the most conservative estimations possible. The number of expiring provisions of law has a positive and significant effect on the degree of policy change. and including a lagged dependent variable in the model to account for any problems of autocorrelation. 9 19 . as well as potential problems with serial correlation. 10 We report the results for the model without fixed effects for subtopic. What makes these findings particularly remarkable is that we have not controlled for two likely effects of expirations: First.model in STATA). and use a more conventional robust OLS model. This is quite a robust finding no matter how the model is specified. For purposes of clarity. Even when we include fixed effects – which slightly changes the interpretation of our variables – there are no substantive difference in the findings. we only report a few models for each strategy with some slight variations on the measures of policy preference coalitions (Tables 5 & 6).) In our second strategy. Policy Change as a Count Variable The findings reported in Table 7 are very supportive of our assertion as to the importance of expirations in shaping policy evolution. with the identical independent variables used to predict excess zeros. As well.9 Since we expect clear differences in the intercept by policy subtopic. These all‐ inclusive models were typical of the findings using different combinations of the independent variables.
etc. For instance we utilize several different measures of policy preference coalitions: the first column reports the measure of the distance between the median preferences of the House and Senate. Again this is a fairly robust finding amongst the different model specifications. That is. [Table 7 about here] The elite salience of an issue – measured using The New York Times editorial attention – has a similar positive and significant relationship to policy change.reauthorize expiring programs on time – as it did in 1986 with the enormous highway projects bill. the 20 . as stated above we do not distinguish the significance or importance of individual expirations. higher education. in the next term. these three measures of public salience and mood are also not very highly correlated with one another either.150). we do not give added weight to its effect on the dependent variable. Thus even though a single expiration may carry profound meaning for policy change. the more likely it is that Congress will make policy changes in that issue area. (Interestingly. The more frequently the president communicates publicly about an issue. It eventually renewed these projects. expirations of large programs (highways. This brings us to the remaining variables that have previously been thought to influence change in individual statutes or government programs. It is important to note that the number of expiring provisions and elite salience are not strongly correlated (Pearson’s R = ‐. The models tested do not count such delayed policy responses. Importantly. The more general measures of public sentiment – the “most important problem” variable and Stimson’s gauge of public mood – do not seemingly predict policy change. none of the other variables approached conventional levels of statistical significance. Second.087). and thus would weigh against expirations being significantly related to policy change. presidential attention does not seem to be explained by the presence or absence of big expiring programs (Pearson’s R = . such as Superfund. In our analysis.) do not explain variations in the elite salience of issues as measured by NYT editorials. farming. no matter how we measured their effects or what combinations of variables we employed.) One important inter‐branch influence is also related to policy change.
Modeling Policy Change as a Continuous Variable To test the robustness of the findings of the count models. there was no significant effect of the size of majority party coalitions or majority party agendas on policy change. nor any effect of committee preference changes. expiring provisions are always positive and strong predictors of policy change. Discussion and Conclusion Legislatures rely on specialist committees to oversee and recommend updates to existing programs.second column reports the measure for intra‐chamber partisan polarization. as was true in the previous model specifications. we analyze several model specifications (using robust OLS regression). The remaining variables have no significant effect on policy change. The same is true for elite salience – the more attention the issue receives (NYT editorials). More expiring provisions in a policy area predict more policy change. none of the other inter‐branch influences – unified/divided government or Supreme Court activity – were meaningful in determining policy change as we have conceptualized it. Additionally. and report just two models that are typical of the broader findings. A committee ordinarily has little reason to expect the legislature to reserve valuable floor space for program maintenance – there will always 21 . as well as four varieties of gridlock intervals (not shown). [Table 8 about here] As was true for the count models. we pursue an alternative conceptualization of policy change as a continuous variable. We have argued that program authorizations play a central role in encouraging committees to invest in such activities. As before. None of these different specifications of policy preferences were found to be significant predictors of policy change. Aside from the presidential agenda variable. the greater the degree of policy change. The one difference between these models and the previous count models is that the relationship between presidential agendas and policy change varies depending on which policy preference coalition measure is included in the model.
and budgetary cycles). we predicted changes in food safety policy over an 18‐year time period. The typical congressional study aggregates statutory or policy changes within a given term. This important finding deserves additional discussion. For example. defense. In other words. 186. to the extent 22 . then there will be non‐renewal years that produce no change despite large preference shifts. Including them will strengthen the case that “non‐discretionary” governing obligations set the stage for policy change in Congress (Walker 1977). in contrast. Our goal. and there will be renewal years that produce policy change without significant preference shifts. but they have received little systematic attention from legislative scholars. but to also provide a theoretical explanation for why that should happen. Perhaps most surprising ‐ from the perspective of current legislative scholarship ‐ is that preferences (measured many different ways across many different specifications) were not robust predictors of policy change. Public policy research has highlighted such “predictable windows” as important (Walker 1977. Preferences (or preference shifts) matter in such a formulation because the measure of policy change assesses the overall productivity of the legislature from one term to the next. and then compares one term to the next. When a legislature enacts a law that that includes a short‐term authorization. then one expects greater food safety policy changes when there are larger preference shifts. We intentionally excluded other predictable windows (such as annual appropriations.be more urgent issues demanding attention. For example. Hall 2004). But if Congress typically takes up the policy only when a program is up for renewal. Kingdon 2003. Mayhew (1991) counts the number of significant laws enacted per term and finds that unified governments are not more productive than divided ones. If one assumes a discretionary legislative agenda. was to explain policy change within a policy area across time. This is the first study to not only demonstrate that program renewals are central drivers of policy change in Congress. Our analysis of 27 issue areas over 18 years confirms that program renewals have become important focal points for policy change. it signals its commitment to taking up the committee’s recommendations at a future date. we have found that other types obligations – external demands captured by issue salience (a measure of what Kingdon would term “unpredictable windows”) and presidential priorities are also central to understanding how policies evolve. In addition.
The question of interest is what “special skills” distinguish effective entrepreneurs. may help to focus and deflect attention away from programs. making it easier for lawmakers and staff to allocate limited resources more efficiently. In addition. Finally. 188). our findings demonstrate that program reauthorizations are central to understanding how policies evolve. We have argued that a shared interest in promoting policy maintenance is one of the important constraints shaping political opportunities in Congress. First. nearly 23 . Hall 2004). Addressing these important questions requires additional information about how legislative agendas are constructed and how limited agenda capacity influences the congressional political opportunity structure. our findings have important implications for longstanding research on legislative effectiveness. more work is needed in this area. these approaches offer little insight into which programs will be reformed. on the other hand. bills vary in importance. whether effectiveness is defined by the number of bills passed or “hit rate” (Anderson et al. the contribution of the current paper should now be clear. Second. However. health care reform. Serial renewals. Existing approaches to the study of statutory change shed valuable light on the conduciveness of the legislative environment to policy change in general. This literature starts from the premise that a bill’s success begins with the individual legislative entrepreneur. or the magnitude of the reforms that will be adopted. Kingdon notes that simultaneous renewals can promote “thinking across modes” (2003. and that committees differ in terms of how program renewals affect their agendas. Hall 1991. Seen in this light. we tried to draw attention to some important problems with this perspective (Adler and Wilkerson 2005). In a paper that is still unpublished (!). We also argued that program reauthorizations serve an additional purpose of helping committees (and the legislature) better manage their agendas.that attention to policies is organized around predictable events. it is clear that many programs are not on temporary authorizations. Studies of policymaking within particular committees confirm that reauthorizations are important (Evans 1991. 2003). there is little reason to expect standard preference measures to be robust predictors of policy change. Bills naming post offices follow a different path to success than bills reforming important programs such as the Clean Air Act. that other programs live on through unauthorized appropriations. However. say. While such activities may receive less media attention than.
committee of jurisdiction membership is a better predictor of sponsorship success than majority party membership. Only then can we begin to accurately assess the impact of individual effort for the progress of bills. In fact. The first step to studying legislative effectiveness should be to set aside the “predictable” issues. and most of those are sponsored by committee leaders.all important successful bills are committee sponsored. We have argued and found that (committee‐led) program renewals substantially reduce opportunities for advancing other legislation. The current study helps to explain why. 24 . Legislative effectiveness research implicitly assumes a discretionary legislative agenda where a member’s ability plays a central role in determining whether an issue makes it to the top of the pile.
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Figure 1: Lines of CQ Coverage of Highways Enactments. 19831999 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 29 .
Treatment. Agricultural Disaster Insurance Food Inspection and Safety (including seafood) Employee Benefitsa Immigration and Refugee Issues Higher Education Elementary and Secondary Education Hazardous Waste and Toxic Chemical Regulation. Cuba) a Government Efficiency and Bureaucratic Oversight Government Employee Benefits. Global Warming. Disputes. Cable. Caribbean Basin.S. Minority Issues. and Safety Airports. 200 205 302 321 402 403 503 530 601 602 704 705 807 1002 1003 1203 1209 1302 1303 1401 1501 1502 1706 1707 1802 1803 1901 1914 2002 2004 2103 2104 Expiring Provisions 82 6 18 31 17 255 7 0 34 212 164 31 2 25 217 57 37 19 28 50 211 34 10 30 12 32 26 21 0 9 21 0 25 30 . and Tax Reform 107 Civil Rights. Foreign Aida Latin America (South America. Export‐Import Bank U.S. General (includes combinations of multiple subtopics) Handicap or Disease Discrimination Insurance reform. Public Lands. and cost Regulation of drug industry. Air Traffic Control and Safety Illegal Drug Production. TABLE 3: Policy Agendas Project Subtopics Studied Policy Subtopic Subtopic Code a Taxation. Tax policy. Central America. and Agreements Export Promotion and Regulation. and Control Police. availability. and Forest Managementa Water Resources Development and Researcha aSubtopics not used for the current analysis. Maintenance. medical devices. Airlines. and clinical labs Government Subsidies to Farmers and Ranchers. and Civil Liberties. Civil Service Issues Natural Resources. Fire. Trafficking. and Disposal Air pollution. and Weapons Control Poverty and Assistance for Low‐Income Families Elderly Issues and Elderly Assistance Programs (Including Social Security Administration) Housing and Community Development U. Banking System and Financial Institution Regulation Securities and Commodities Regulation Telephone and Telecommunication Regulation Broadcast Industry Regulation (TV. Radio) Trade Negotiations. and Noise Pollution Energy Conservation Highway Construction. Mexico.
Agriculture. Table 4: Top 10 Statutes by Congressional Quarterly Almanac Coverage In Relevant Policy Areas Public Law PL 101‐549 PL 105‐178 PL 101‐624 PL 104‐104 PL 101‐625 PL 101‐012 PL 99‐198 PL 103‐322 PL 100‐690 PL 102‐325 Law Title Clean Air Act of 1990 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century of 1998 Food. Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 Telecommunications Act of 1996 Cranston‐Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 Food Security Act of 1985 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 Anti Drug Abuse Act of 1988 Higher Education Act Amendments of 1992 Appears in Mayhew ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ 31 .
026 Min.329 17.010 St.Table 5: Independent Variables Governing Theory Expiring Provisions in Law Salient Events and Mood Public Salience Data Source (Authors) Expected Effect + + + Mean 6.738 0.81 Majority Party Coalitions House Majority Party Size Senate Majority Party Size House Majority Party Agenda + + + 0.211 Binder's data on editorials from The New York Times.011 0. and presidential leadership) Percent of House seats controlled by the majority party Percent of Senate seats controlled by the majority party Subtopic included in first 10 majority party sponsored bills for term or in Speaker’s election speech + 59.330 0. coded by PAP subtopics “Most Important Problem” Size of change in the proportion who state that major topic is the “most important problem facing nation” in Gallup polls (only when change is positive from the previous period) Mood Stimson’s measure of public mood Policy Preference Coalitions Chamber Preference Distance Absolute difference in chamber preferences using Poole and Rosenthal's DW‐NOMINATE scores House Polarization Absolute difference in House Democratic and Republican mean preferences using Poole and Rosenthal's DW‐NOMINATE scores House Priority Change Change in percent of total bills devoted to this major topic area (House only) Alternative Specification (analyzed but not reported in tables) Gridlock Choiu and Rothenberg's four different measures of the size of the gridlock interval (party free. 117 105 .123 0.713 0.057 ‐. 0 0 0 Max.007 63.000 0.029 2.091 0.547 0. party unity.038 0.403 .044 0.012 .571 0.924 .856 + 0.61 0.96 0.038 0. 15.623 0.084 0. Dev.56 0.025 54.57 1 32 .644 0.603 0. party agenda.564 17.41 0.51 0.53 0 0.
166 0.111 0. continued: Independent Variables Data Source Expected Effect + + Mean 9. 0 if no gain or loss Majority Party Issue House and Senate controlled by same party.696 0 14 +/‐ 0.013 0 0.315 0. and that subtopic is determined by Petrocik (1989) to be "owned" by the majority party =1. 0 0 Max.485 Min.206 0 0 0 1 1 0.483 0.401 0. otherwise=0 (same) Absolute difference in the preferences of the primary committee of jurisdiction from previous term using Poole and Rosenthal's COMMON SPACE scores Both chambers and presidency controlled by same party=1.222 0.074 2. Percent of roll call votes in subtopic for previous term that were party unity according to Rohde's data + + + 0. 63 1 Alternative Specification (analyzed but not reported in tables) Gain of Majority Party Seats Net gain of seats for the majority party in both chambers.TABLE 5. Dev.366 0. otherwise=0 Aggregation of presidential message by subtopic from Malbin and Rudalevige's data on presidential messages Number of unique case citations by subtopic for the three years prior to the beginning of the congressional term.417 0.086 33 .354 0 0 1 1 Supreme Court Cases Policyspecific Conflict Party policy conflict + 2.391 0. otherwise=0 Committee Effects Turnover in House Committee Chair Turnover in Senate Committee Chair Change in Committee Preferences If the term of a new chair of the primary committee of jurisdiction=1.374 St.667 0.009 0.964 Interbranch Influences Unified Presidential Agenda + + 0. 19.
Table 6: House Majority Agenda as Defined by Speaker Speech and First 10 Bills. 106th Congress Subject Matter Government Spending Tax relief/reduce income tax/eliminate marriage penalty & estate tax Funds to classrooms/safe schools/use IRA funds for elementary and secondary education Reform social security/eliminate earnings test Reform regulation of financial services industry (repeal Glass‐Steagall Act) Deploy a national missile defense Better equip and train military Improve quality of life for military families More efficient/smaller government Subtopic Code 105 107 602 1303 1500 1600 1604 1608 2002 Source Speaker Speaker/Bills Speaker/Bills Speaker/Bills Bills Bills Speaker Bills Speaker 34 .
092 ‐2.419** ‐1.76 243 S.001 0.316 ‐0.082 0.308 11.256 0.156 ‐0.070 15.007 0.210 0.395 0.408 0.179 6.970 0.135 16.420 0.E.569 10.129 35 .988 19.689 ‐3.829 .064 ‐0.575 10.588 36.125 0.173 7.174 5.221 0.831 0.020*** Robust Coefficient S.128 0.078 0.743 0.005 0.301 8.444 0.950 0.030 ‐0.112 ‐13.260 0.216 59.280 0.777 32.006 0. 0.149 ‐0.064 0. 0.311*** 0.TABLE 7: Allinclusive Models Predicting Policy Change (Zeroinflated Negative Binomial) Allinclusive 1 Allinclusive 2 Governing Theory Expiring Provisions in Law Salient Events and Mood Elite Salience Most Important Problem Mood Policy Preference Coalitions Chamber Preference Distance House Polarization Majority Party Coalitions House Majority Party Size Senate Majority Party Size House Maj Party Agenda Committee Effects Turnover in House Comm Chair Turnover in Senate Comm Chair Change in Committee Preferences Interbranch Influences Unified/Divided Presidential Agenda Supreme Court Cases Policyspecific Conflict Party policy conflict Constant alpha Vuong test N Robust Coefficient 0.168 0.957*** 0.598 0.020*** 0.077 ‐3.058 13.489 0.459 0.990 2.317 0.423** ‐1.92 243 0.447 0.453 2.409 5.126 0.337 0.E.669 31.037 ‐6.981 2.075 0.
306* 0.478 0.783 45.967 0.585 0.126 0.445 3.887 13.961 12.300 19.607 0.632 0.614*** ‐8.014 0. 0.210 243 0.520 0.938 0.866 22.044 ‐1.070 0.030 ‐0.495 0.E.420 1.438** 30.053*** Robust Coefficient S.121 0. TABLE 8: Allinclusive Models Predicting Policy Change (OLS with Logged Dependent Variable) Allinclusive 1 Allinclusive 2 Governing Theory Expiring Provisions in Law Salient Events and Mood Elite Salience Most Important Problem Mood Policy Preference Coalitions Chamber Preference Distance House Polarization Majority Party Coalitions House Majority Party Size Senate Majority Party Size House Maj Party Agenda Committee Effects Turnover in House Comm Chair Turnover in Senate Comm Chair Change in Committee Preferences Interbranch Influences Unified/Divided Presidential Agenda Supreme Court Cases Policyspecific Conflict Party policy conflict Lag‐DV Constant Adj‐R2 N Robust Coefficient 0.124 0.334 13.511 0.444 0.210 243 S.382 0.201 0.559 0.325 1.014 0.484 49.052*** 0.211 27.179 0.552 0.620 ‐0.912 ‐100.170 36.E.000 5.531 0.109 0.580 0.001 17.033 ‐0.164 7.423 1.836 0.200 0.346 0.066 0.529 79.396 0.308 ‐2.255** 12.348 0.653*** ‐9.340 ‐33.240 0.168 7.583 0.001 11.000 6.420 36 .095 22. 0.