Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Andy Baker

Second Advisor

David S. Brown

Third Advisor

Anand Sokhey

Fourth Advisor

Carew Boulding

Fifth Advisor

Lucio Rennό


Do political and legislative ties matter as much as conventional partisan or institutional factors for parties, candidates, and legislative voting? Scholars frequently think of parties as more or less discrete, stable political entities which form and compete in elections. Similarly, when they talk about influence between legislators, they tend to talk about institutional sources of influence - such as leadership influence, constituent influence, or party influence; but scholars often ignore social sources of influence - influence due to actors' embeddedness in social networks. In this dissertation, I develop theories of legislative network formation and legislative influence; and leverage network-analytic techniques to empirically test them. I address the causes and consequences of legislative networks for parties and legislative processes in four ways. First, I develop a theory of legislative network formation and use network survey data to test it. Second, I develop a theory of legislative influence and utilize mixed effects logistic regression tests to assess its validity with network survey and legislative voting data. Third, I develop a theory of party recruitment, and use records of party-switches over 20 years to test it. Finally, I develop a theory of the long-term effects of political networks on political party success, and apply duration modeling and regression techniques to assess it. Overall, I find that political and legislative networks have sizable effects on legislative coordination and party success, and that the root causes of political network formation lie in heretofore unmeasured sociopolitical processes.