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The Electoral Connection in the Early Congress: The Case of the Compensation Act of 1816

William T. Bianco, David B. Spence and John D. Wilkerson
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 40, No. 1 (Feb., 1996), pp. 145-171
DOI: 10.2307/2111698
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111698
Page Count: 27
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The Electoral Connection in the Early Congress: The Case of the Compensation Act of 1816
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Abstract

We extend research on the electoral connection "beyond" the modern Congress to the Congress of the early 1800s. Our analysis shows evidence of individual accountability in voting on the Compensation Act of 1816 and in decisions to run for reelection in the 1816 election. An electoral connection should produce a marginality effect in voting on the Compensation Act (vulnerable legislators less likely to vote yea), and surplus retirements among yea voters. Logistic regressions with vote on the Compensation Act and retirement decisions as dependent variables. Independent variables are electoral safety, age, party affiliation, and (for the latter regression) vote on the Compensation Act. Electorally vulnerable legislators were less likely to support the Compensation Act. Supporters of that proposal were less likely to seek reelection. Both of these findings are consistent with the existence of an electoral connection, and persist after controls for other factors such as age, party affiliation, and electoral safety.

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