Political Science 540, American National Institutions, Spring 2000

Prof. Frank Baumgartner


Questions and discussion topics for week 8, March 1:


Readings: Hall, Participation in Congress


Choose one of these topics for a five page paper if you choose to do one this week. In any case, come to class prepared to discuss the following:


1.      Hall returns to the concept of member-enterprise first developed by Salisbury and Shepsle. What’s the value of this idea?

2.      Hall attacks studies of roll-call votes. Why?

3.      Review the amount of field work and research that Hall conducted. Why do you think he was able to conduct such a great number (and proportion) of congressional interviews? Why isn’t this type of research more common?

4.      Review the differences between what he calls “revealed intensities” and what he calls “revealed preferences.” What is his argument about why intensities may be more important to study? Reactions?

5.      Hall is relatively critical of the literature on institutional determinants of congressional behavior. Review these arguments, noting where his findings correspond with an institutional view, and where they differ.

6.      Hall suggests a number of avenues of future research. Which seems most fruitful and how would one follow up?

7.      If, as Hall asserts, participation is more important than voting, what are the implications of this for lobbying by outside interests? We’ll return to this idea later in the term.