The effects of bicameralism on U.S. appropriations policies
Owens, Mark Edward
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This dissertation examines how supermajority rules interact with other institutional constraints. I study appropriations policies to better understand how the content of legislation develops in response to bicameral differences over a one-hundred and four year period. As each chamber has developed independently of one another, the institutional differences that have emerged have had a dynamic impact on the lawmaking process. The time frame of the study, 1880 to 1984, is particularly important because it captures the years when the Senate grew to play a more active role in the legislative process and a number of key budgetary reforms. To study this phenomenon empirically, I measure how regular appropriations bills were packaged differently by the House and Senate from 1880 to 1984 and compare the final enactment to the difference in chamber proposals to determine the magnitude of a chamber’s leverage on enacted policy changes. By treating the Senate’s choice to amend the House version as a selection effect, we can examine the effect bicameralism has on policy outcomes. Specifically, I analyze a ratio that represents how close the final bill is to the Senate version, given the size of the bicameral distance. Finally, I complete the study by examining how the president influences bicameral negotiations and how bicameralism complicates our theories of intra-branch relations.