It's Transparent: Open Meetings, Electoral Competition, and Collaboration in the American States

Weeks, Harrison, Government - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Kirkland, Justin, AS-Dept of Politics, University of Virginia

Given the state of partisanship in American politics today, there has been much attention on the factors that can foster a more collaborative work environment between members of opposing parties in government. Several scholars have examined electoral competition and institutional transparency as being potential factors - often finding conflicting results. I argue that institutional transparency and electoral competition can interact to shape bipartisan bill collaborations in the American state legislatures. Leveraging variation in the transparency of state legislative committee meetings, as well as district-level primary and general election outcomes, I examine bipartisan bill co-sponsorship data from 2010-2016 to see if institutional transparency and electoral competition impact lawmakers willingness to collaborate with the other side. The results suggest that general elections have no bearing on cross-partisan bill cosponsorships, though primary elections may promote or inhibit bipartisan collaboration depending on the transparency of the deliberative process.

MA (Master of Arts)
collaboration, cosponsor, state legislature, committee transparency, electoral competition
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