The View from the Hill: Legislative Perceptions Of the District



This article addresses legislative perceptions of constituents' interests and develops a theory of perception that highlights the role of information accessibility in the formation of legislative offices' views of their districts. I used original data regarding health policy in the U.S. House to analyze perceptions of constituents' interests. I found that legislators do not see all constituents in their district, nor do they see the largest constituencies. Rather, legislators are more likely to see active and resource-rich constituents. These findings provide unique evidence of the influence of money in Congress and suggest that legislative misperception is both common and systematically biased.