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Has Legislative Television Changed Legislator Behavior?: C-SPAN2 and the Frequency of Senate Filibustering

Franklin G. Mixon Jr., M. Troy Gibson and Kamal P. Upadhyaya
Public Choice
Vol. 115, No. 1/2 (Apr., 2003), pp. 139-162
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30025977
Page Count: 24
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Has Legislative Television Changed Legislator Behavior?: C-SPAN2 and the Frequency of Senate Filibustering
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Abstract

Using data from 1959-1998, this study examines the impact of legislative television (C-SPAN2) on the number of filibusters in the United States Senate. As previous work has suggested, the institutional rules of the federal legislative branch of government in the U.S. often allow for political grandstanding and posturing, and these activities are enhanced with the presence of television cameras on the legislative floor. Like those previous studies, the present work builds a theoretical model wherein political services are considered search/experience goods, and service providers (federal legislators) are expected utility maximizers who are concerned with promoting their policy preferences and their re-election prospects. Poisson model estimates suggest that the presence of legislative television has worked to increase the filibuster count in the Senate. As a result, such posturing and positioning on the issues by incumbents (in front of television cameras) is costly for challengers to replicate and likely contributes to lower turnover rates in the legislative branch.

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