Party Polarization and Legislative Gridlock

  title={Party Polarization and Legislative Gridlock},
  author={David R. Jones},
  journal={Political Research Quarterly},
  pages={125 - 141}
  • David R. Jones
  • Published 1 March 2001
  • Economics
  • Political Research Quarterly
This article investigates how parties affect legislative gridlock-the inability of government to enact significant proposals on the policy agenda. Conventional accounts suggest that divided party control of govemment causes such stalemate. I offer an alternative partisan model of gridlock that incorporates party polarization, party seat division, and the interaction between these two factors. Using an original data set of major legislative proposals considered between 1975 and 1994, I find that… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

■ Abstract Recent commentary points to clear increases in ideological polarization between the major American political parties. We review the theoretical and empirical literature on party
How Party Polarization Affects Governance
The purpose of this review is to take stock of how party polarization affects governance in the United States. The article begins by defining polarization and discussing the means by which it can be
PARTY POLARIZATION IN AMERICAN POLITICS: Characteristics, Causes, and Consequences
▪ Abstract Recent commentary points to clear increases in ideological polarization between the major American political parties. We review the theoretical and empirical literature on party
Intra-Party Politics , Cohesion , and Legislative Gridlock
Where the preferences of party members are more diffuse, it becomes more difficult for legislative party leaders to discipline their members, making agenda control a more attractive means of
Contingent Party Pressure and Legislative Gridlock
Although several legislative gridlock models have produced different results in terms of legislative gridlock under divided government, these studies have neglected contingent party pressures. This
Partisan Competition and the Efficiency of Lawmaking in American State Legislatures, 1991-2009
Does partisan competition explain why some legislatures are more efficient at processing legislation than others? This article argues that legislative parties’ strategic incentives and capabilities
Voter polarisation and party responsiveness: Why parties emphasise divided issues, but remain silent on unified issues
How does voter polarisation affect party responsiveness? Previous research has shown that political parties emphasise political issues that are important to their voters. However, it is posited in
Democracy in Crisis: An Examination of the Negative Effects of Political Parties on Democracy
Over the last decade, many political analyst’s multiple has observed what they perceive to be a crisis of democracy in advanced developed democracies. These analysts associate the crisis of democracy
Divided Government and Delay in the Legislative Process
Despite a robust history of studies examining legislative outputs, little is known about how divided government affects the policymaking process. This article examines these dynamics by analyzing the
Income inequality and party (de)polarisation
Abstract Scholars of US politics report a strong connection between income inequality and party polarisation. This study evaluates this relationship comparatively, and finds that the opposite


The Dynamics of Legislative Gridlock, 1947–96
David Mayhew's Divided We Govern (1991) sparked an industry of scholars who alternately challenge or confirm the work on theoretical and empirical grounds. Still, we lack a definitive account of the
Unified Government, Divided Government, and Party Responsiveness
Revisionist accounts conclude that divided and unified government do not differ significantly in the production of “important” public policy. I argue instead that when one theoretically reclaims the
Constitutional reform and effective government
For years the public has become increasingly disillusioned and cynical about its governmental institutions. In the face of alarming problems - most notably the $400 billion budget deficit - the
Divided Government and the Legislative Productivity of Congress, 1945-94
This paper contributes to the literature on divided government and legislative productivity. We begin by reexamining Mayhew's data on landmark enactments. We show that Mayhew's claim that divided
Needed: A Political Theory for the New Era of Coalition Government in the United States
On 8 November 1988, when the American voters decreed that Republican George Bush would succeed Ronald Reagan in the White House but the opposition Democratic Party would control both houses of the
The Legislative Impact of Divided Government
Theory: The best test of the impact of divided government on legislative gridlock is to examine seriously considered, potentially important legislation that failed to pass under conditions of divided
Congress: A Political-Economic History of Roll Call Voting
In this wide-ranging study, the authors use 200 years of congressional roll call voting as a framework for an interpretation of important episodes in American political and economic history. By
Polarized politics : Congress and the President in a partisan era
A collection of essays addressing how the rise in partisan politics has affected congressional-presidential relations. The essays cover presidential agenda-setting in Congress, lawmaking in a
Divided We Govern? A Reassessment
The defining characteristic of American politics in the post-World War II era is the dominance of divided partisan control of American political institutions. Congress and the presidency have been
Agendas, alternatives, and public policies
1. How Does an Idea's Time Come? 2. Participants on the Inside of Government 3. Outside of Government, But Not Just Looking In 4. Processes: Origins, Rationality, Incrementalism, and Garbage Cans 5.