Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 1 > Issue 4

Congressional Credit-Claiming for COVID-19 Assistance: How Home Styles Adapt to Local Context

William T. Bianco, Indiana University, USA, wbianco@iu.edu Eric R. Schmidt, Indiana University, USA, errschmi@iu.edu
 
Suggested Citation
William T. Bianco and Eric R. Schmidt (2020), "Congressional Credit-Claiming for COVID-19 Assistance: How Home Styles Adapt to Local Context", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 1: No. 4, pp 631-644. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/113.00000025

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2020
© 2020 W. T. Bianco and E. R. Schmidt
 
Subjects
Democracy,  Legislatures: Legislative processes,  Legislatures: Lawmaking
 
Keywords
Representationhome stylecredit-claimingCARES ActCOVID-19
 

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In this article:
Home Styles: What They Are, Why They Matter 
Empirical Analysis 
Discussion 
Acknowledgements 
References 

Abstract

Using data on Senators' credit-claiming for COVID-19 relief efforts, we show how legislators' home styles (Fenno, 1978) are sensitive to contextual, constituency-level factors. Our analysis draws on an original dataset of 340,000+ Senate press releases issued between 1999 and 2020. After establishing senators' baseline propensity for credit-claiming (Mayhew, 1974), we examine whether their behavior changed as the pandemic unfolded. We find that at the margin of baseline behavior, the likelihood of credit-claiming for COVID-19 relief varied with state-level public opinion (a general measure of liberalism). These results challenge standard assumptions about representation in contemporary American politics, supporting a granular, context-specific understanding of home styles, and deepen our understanding of how Mayhew's (1974) model of reelection-seeking behavior holds in the modern era.

DOI:10.1561/113.00000025

Companion

Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 4 Special issue - The Political Economy of Pandemics, Part I
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.