More Effective than We Thought: Accounting for Legislative Hitchhikers Reveals a More Inclusive and Productive Lawmaking Process

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Authors Andreu Casas, Matthew J. Denny, John D. Wilkerson
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Paper Abstract For more than half a century, scholars have been studying legislative effectiveness using a single metric—whether the bills a member sponsors progress through the legislative process. We investigate a less orthodox form of effectiveness—bill proposals that become law as provisions of other bills. Counting these “hitchhiker” bills as additional cases of bill sponsorship success reveals a more productive, less hierarchical, and less partisan lawmaking process. We argue that agenda and procedural constraints are central to understanding why lawmakers pursue hitchhiker strategies. We also investigate the legislative vehicles that attract hitchhikers and find, among other things, that more Senate bills are enacted as hitchhikers on House laws than become law on their own. Replication Materials: The data, code, and any additional materials required to replicate all analyses in this article are available on the American Journal of Political Science Dataverse within the Harvard Dataverse Network, at: [awaiting URL from AJPS] Word Count: 7,859 (9,984 with Supporting Information) ∗First version: March 20, 2017. This version: September 13, 2018. This research is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1224173 and IGERT Grant DGE-1144860, and by the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environment. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We thank Lexi Greenberg for her research assistance, Barry Pump for his procedural insights, and Amber Boydstun for suggesting the “hitchhiker” term. †; New York University, New York, NY 10012 ‡; 203 Pond Lab, Pennsylvania State University , University Park, PA 16802 §; Box 353530, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R

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