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The Logic of Congressional Action
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The Logic of Congressional Action

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Congress regularly enacts laws that benefit particular groups or localities while imposing costs on everyone else. Sometimes, however, Congress breaks free of such parochial concerns and enacts bills that serve the general public, not just special interest groups. In this important and original book, R. Douglas Arnold offers a theory that explains not only why special inte ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published July 29th 1992 by Yale University Press (first published September 26th 1990)
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3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  68 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Leandro Guimarães
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting take in the motivations and mechanisms of legislative work, scientifically dismantling a few myths about how constituencies, either general or particularist, influence legislators’ actions.
Alex Nelson
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mahew's Congress: The Electoral Connection pitched the novel idea "Legislators are interested solely in reelection". This begs the question: how does anything get done in Congress if everyone's solely self-interested in their own re-election?

(Arguably, the past 6 years have shown us Congress does not work.)

Arnold attempts to provide a solution to this puzzle. (Mahew's puzzle, not the 112-114th congresses inability to function.) It's actually quite an elegant framework, that's slightly too elabor
...more
Brett
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it
A good book, but one that doesn't offer enough caveats to its assertions about what drives congressional behavior. No sentient observer would suggest that re-election isn't a primary consideration in any vote taken by someone in Congress, but to suggest that in all situations it is the overriding factor is a stretch.

In addition, the political landscape has shifted since the publication of this book, including radically different media and fundraising environments.

Lastly, Arnold's theory is diff
...more
Meggan
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Arnold uses outdated rational choice "logic" to defend a theory largely (and admittedly) devoid of reality. Given that the book was written before the internet, blogs, and Fox News, I can't really see much use for this book in understanding contemporary Congressional action.
Charles
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic
It's a little outdated but the theory is pretty solid.
Linda
Nov 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Although Arnold is probably right about the motivations of our congressional representatives (i.e. the sole motivation is re-election), seeing it in print is profoundly depressing.
Kristofer Petersen-Overton
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
An important book, albeit extremely repetitive and unnecessarily long for the simple argument it puts forward.
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