Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD

Program

School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Heather E. Campbell

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Zining Yang

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2022 Brian Jewett

Abstract

Previous scholarship has demonstrated that minority group members in the United States Congress generally are more supportive and collaborative within and beyond their respective groups compared to their majority group counterparts (Craig et al., 2015; Rouse, Swers and Parrott, 2013). In some cases, increased levels of collaboration positively influence legislative success and in others they do not, the results often depending on the characteristic of the group itself and the institutional setting within which the group operates. Additionally, prior studies within the domains of social network analysis and legislative behavior have shown that certain social network measures within a legislative context are associated with higher levels of legislative activity and success. Combining these elements, along with traditional variables found in many studies of legislative behavior, in a longitudinal analysis of gendered effects within both chambers of Congress has to my knowledge never been explored. This research examines chamber- and gender-specific sponsorship and cosponsorship data using the methods of social network analysis and logistic regression models during the 102nd through 114th Congresses. The methods used in this analysis test the hypotheses that female legislators in both chambers 1) exhibit greater sponsorship and co-sponsorship activity rates than their male counterparts, 2) form better social networks metrics than their male counterparts, and 3) despite these characteristics, are less successful than men in passing their sponsored binding, force-of-law measures through each chamber compared to male members in each chamber. I expect that women in Congress are not as successful, despite demonstrating success-based characteristics, because of prejudicial attitudes perpetuated by each chamber’s dominant gender group, males. The results of my analyses confirm that female representatives and senators are more active cosponsors than men and form better networks in the House of Representatives than men as measured by some but not all network measures used in the analyses. However, when comparing the legislative success of women to their male counterparts, the results were different for each chamber; females in the House were less successful than males in achieving success for their sponsored legislation, but in the Senate there were no statistically significant findings to support the same conclusion. I suggest that the differences in membership size, length of terms of service, and other institutional characteristics between the two chambers are factors contributing to the different results.

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