Neil Malhotra <firstname.lastname@example.org> is Assistant Professor of Political Economy, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 518 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305-5015.
Disentangling the Relationship between Legislative Professionalism and Government Spending
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
2008 Comparative Legislative Research Center at the University of Iowa
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Volume 33, Issue 3, pages 387–414, August 2008
How to Cite
MALHOTRA, N. (2008), Disentangling the Relationship between Legislative Professionalism and Government Spending. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 33: 387–414. doi: 10.3162/036298008785260880
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
Recent movements to deprofessionalize American state legislatures have been driven partly by the notion that professional legislators spend more than their citizen counterparts. This article explores the relationship between legislative professionalism and government spending, a connection complicated by the possibility that legislators in high-spending states may choose professional institutions to handle their responsibilities more effectively. I employed propensity score matching, an increasingly used technique of causal inference, to disentangle the relationship. Contrary to previous academic work and popular notions, I found that professional legislatures do not spend significantly more than part-time bodies do, if one accounts for the fact that legislatures in high-spending states have a greater need to be professionalized and therefore select those structural frameworks. These findings have important implications for the study of the effects of legislative institutions on public policies more generally and attest to the utility of recently developed techniques of causal inference to disentangle these relationships.