Setting Agenda (Cox & McCubbins) Student`s presentation

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POSITIVE POLITICAL
THEORY
Clint Dillard
Why Par ty
Government?
Negative A genda
Power
Gar y, Cox,
McCubbins. Ch.
2-3
WHY ARE THERE POLITICAL PARTIES?
 Parties are created to solve internal collective action
problems
- Legislators form political parties to bind
themselves together in durable situations
-Legislation would be unpredictable and
unprofitable
 Parties are created to solve external collective action
problems
- Legislators use parties as brand names
(reputation for electoral votes)
HOW ARE PARTIES ORGANIZED
 Parties as Firms
-Single chief executive officers
- They involve delegation to party leaders
(central agents)
- To reduce transaction costs
- To improve collective action problems
HOW ARE PARTIES ORGANIZED
 Parties as Partnerships
- Parties have “Senior Partners” in order to
distribute responsibility, offices, and determine
direction
- Partners help keep other partners in check in
order to benefit the overall party
- Keeps full responsibility away from
Speaker/President
WHAT DO PARTIES DO?
 Floor Voting Coalitions
- Maintain discipline with their members in
order to ensure cohesive voting
- Gives more power to party leaders when there
are larger disagreements between parties
 Procedural Coalitions
- Central issue is the majority party’s ability to
control the legislative agenda
- Legislative agenda: set of bills considered and
voted on the floor
HOW MAJORITY PARTIES CONTROL
THE AGENDA
 Strict party discipline (Costly)
 Positive agenda power: Proposal Rights
- Ability to push bills through the legislative
process to a final passage vote on the floor
 Negative agenda power: Veto Rights
- Ability to block bills from reaching a final
passage vote on the floor
PROCEDURAL CARTEL THEORY
 States that the majority party exerts substantial influence
over legislative outcomes through control of the legislative
agenda
 Uses 6 Assumptions for theory’s goals
 A -1: Members seek reelection, advancement, good public
policy, and majority status
- Majority status is the gateway to internal
advancement and policy goals
PROCEDURAL CARTEL THEORY
 A -2: Reputation (Brand name) of the party af fects both
probability of reelection and majority vote
 A -3: Reputation of the party depends upon the record of
legislative accomplishment
 A -4: A good legislative record (A -3) entails cooperation within
the party itself
PROCEDURAL CARTEL THEORY
 A -5: Delegating to a central authority is the primary way to
unify and regulate a party
 **A -6: The main resource that a majority party delegates to
senior of ficers is the legislative agenda
- Monopolize the agenda-setting power
- Gives its majority members all main agenda setting offices
SENIOR OFFICERS
 Majority secures all chairs, the speakership, and a large
proportion of the Rules Committee
 Pursuing personal benefits is a major loss
- Crimes of Commission: Pushing legislation
one’s party mostly dislikes
- Crimes of Omission: Failure to aid (or blocking)
legislation one’s party mostly likes
MEMBERS
 Discipline is referred to members voting for the party
 Parties use the tactic “If you help me, I will help you”
 If a member votes for a bill their colleagues oppose  They
run a clear risk
 If a member help ensure a bill’s success  They run a smaller
risk
MEMBERS
 Party pressure can affect members decisions on
procedure more than the decision of substance
 Why doesn’t a member switch parties?
- Loss of one member is not pivotal to a party
- After switch, they are not trusted in their new party
- Research shows that switched members have a
drastically reduced number of terms
 Minority Parties benefit from the internal
divisions of the majority
NEGATIVE AGENDA POWER
Modeling Agenda Power: Ability to
influence what gets voted on, when, and
how
Majority uses agenda power to keep bill
off the floor
AGENDA MODELS
 Floor Agenda Model
- Simpler
- Agenda is determined by a majority on the floor
 Cartel Agenda Model
- Agenda is determined by the senior partners of
the majority party
- More in the interest of the overall party
- Majority almost always votes for Cartel
CARTEL > FLOOR
 Formula for Cartel
- Policy gains- Policy loss+ Office Benefits+
Distributive Benefits
 Cartel Gains
- Office Benefits: Opportunity to advance
- Districts served by senior members show more
economic growth
- Distributive Benefit: Large share of issues
House decides
CONCLUSION
 Parties goal is to gain majority and control the floor agenda
 Cartel Model is more often used because of the use of senior
of ficers that delegate the duties of the floor
 Member loyalty is crucial in order to unify the parties and
maintain their reputations

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