Constituency Representation in Congress: The View from Capitol Hill

Format Post in Social Sciences BY Kristina C. Miler

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Constituency Representation in Congress: The View from Capitol Hill
Kristina C. Miler
Type: eBook
Released: 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Page Count: 226
Format: pdf
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0521765404
ISBN-13: 9780521765404
Review "Miler directs needed attention to a subject that has been neglected in recent scholarship on representation: the role of legislators' perceptions of their districts. Her skillful and innovative analysis demonstrates that systematic biases in members' perceptions of their constituencies affect the policy-making process in ways that amplify resource disparities among groups of constituents. This sophisticated book provides an important perspective on the sources of inequalities in representation; it is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics of the representative process." -Diana Evans, Trinity College "This engaging study offers important new insight into legislative representation and political inequality. Extensive elite interviews, along with careful attention to policy issues and data analysis, allow Miler to develop a highly realistic and satisfying account of representational relationships." -Frances E. Lee, University of Maryland "Miler offers a fresh and important new perspective on the U.S. Congress. She demonstrates that members of Congress must rely on heuristics in assessing the demands arising from the multiple constituencies in their districts, and that these heuristics can lead to important biases in which interests are represented. By bringing cognitive psychology squarely into the study of Congress, Miler generates essential insights into the nature of constituent representation and congressional policy-making." -Eric Schickler, University of California, Berkeley "When legislators look at their districts, what do they see? In this engaging and creative new book, Miler explains both why legislators perceive some subconstituencies but not others, and how these perceptions then affect the legislators' actions. Miler's explanations, which use the cognitive limitations of legislators as a starting point, are important not only for their substantive conclusions, but also for the way in which she demonstrates how psychological explanations can be merged with rational choice explanations to provide a more nuanced portrait of legislative behavior." -Charles Shipan, University of Michigan Book Description This book draws on cognitive psychology to examine empirically the important questions of which constituents legislators see when they look at their district and how these limited perceptions affect their behavior in the U.S. House. Legislators see few constituents in their district relevant to a given issue, and their views of the constituents in their districts are systematically shaped by financial contributions and constituency contact. These limited and biased perceptions determine legislators' actions on Capitol Hill and result in flawed representation of constituents.

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