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Collective vs. Dyadic Representation in Congress

Robert Weissberg
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 72, No. 2 (Jun., 1978), pp. 535-547
DOI: 10.2307/1954109
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1954109
Page Count: 13
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Collective vs. Dyadic Representation in Congress
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Abstract

Previous studies of legislative-constituency representation have focused almost exclusively on pairs of Congress members and their constituencies. It is possible, however, to think of representation collectively, i.e., to consider the extent to which Congress as an institution represents the American people. Our analysis delineates this concept of representation, analyzes its existence by use of probability theory and the Miller-Stokes data, and then considers the relationship between collective representation and electoral control. We conclude that citizens probably get better representation than is suggested by the Miller-Stokes analysis, that the amount of representation may be more a function of institutional arrangements than of electoral control, and that citizen indifference towards many aspects of legislative politics is quite reasonable, given the existence of collective representation.

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