Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Kenneth N. Bickers

Second Advisor

E. Scott Adler

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Skewes

Abstract

Previous research in this area has focused on how MCs specifically change their voting behavior to respond to constituents. For this paper, I chose to focus specifically on MCs who were particularly vulnerable to changes in their district. These MCs serve in politically volatile districts that are close to, or already have flipped to supporting the opposing party. While changes in voting behavior can help explain how some MCs are able to hold despite changes in their districts, this is only part of the picture. Another equally important way that MCs can adapt to changing districts is by changing their cosponsorship behavior. What makes cosponsorship inherently different from voting is its more public nature. When a MC cosponsors a piece of legislation they are effectively taking ownership of that legislative issue. Cosponsorship also indicates a stronger level of support for legislation than simply casting a vote in favor of a bill. By taking a strong ownership stance on particular legislative issues, MCs are able to show more substantial efforts to address their constituents’ interests than simply voting with their constituents. Cosponsorship also functions as a commitment mechanism to help build coalitions of like-minded Representatives. MCs looking to build a track record of bipartisanship can use cosponsorship to build alliances with members of another party

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