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

Entrenched Leviathans

Christian Fong, University of Michigan, USA,
Suggested Citation
Christian Fong (2024), "Entrenched Leviathans", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 4: No. 4, pp 617-639.

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2024
© 2024 C. Fong
Congresspolitical partiesbehavioral economics


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In this article:
The Vanishing Leviathan 
The Congressional Leadership Dilemma 
Evidence from State Legislatures 
Directions for Future Research 


Legislative Leviathan argues that leaders internalize the welfare of the parties they lead and are therefore faithful agents of their parties. This assumption has had a large and productive influence on research on party leaders, but it also makes it hard to understand why the parties sometimes take rights and resources away from their leaders. Amending Legislative Leviathan to assume that leaders vary in quality, want to stay in office, and can use their resources to entrench themselves resolves this puzzle. An empirical test that uses state legislatures uncovers patterns consistent with the theory’s novel predictions. The amended theory offers insight into underexplored aspects of how parties design their leadership offices and suggests new questions for research on party leaders.



Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 4, Issue 4 Special Issue - Legislative Leviathan
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.