Participant Info

First Name
Laurel
Last Name
Harbridge
Country
USA
University
Northwestern University
Keywords
Congress, Parties, Polarization, Bipartisanship, Compromise, Representation, Governing, Elections
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About Me

The United States Congress is the central lawmaking body of the country and its action (or inaction) affects the lives of its citizens. For students of Congress, the key issues therefore involve governance and representation: what issues does Congress address and whose interests are represented? My research explores these twin issues of governance and representation by examining the central role of political parties to both. Specifically, I look at how partisan control of the legislative agenda affects what bills receive attention and how far policy conflicts extend; how partisan identities affect lawmakers and shape policy outcomes; and how public preferences and partisanship in the electorate impact congressional actions and the incentives of elected officials.

This research agenda can be seen in four main threads of research. The first examines parties in Congress: specifically, how partisan control of the agenda drives partisan conflict and affects the translation of legislative proposals into public policy. This research shows how political parties, through their control of the House legislative agenda, magnify the degree of partisan conflict in Congress. The second focuses more broadly on partisanship in institutions, and its effect on policy outcomes and the proposals that legislators support. The third emphasizes the connections between public preferences, legislator behavior, and policy in Congress, and explores how partisan identities minimize the incentives for political bipartisanship. The final component of my research agenda, and my primary trajectory for future work, explores governance in the context of congressional gridlock and polarization.

Recent Publications

Harbridge, Laurel. 2015. Is Bipartisanship Dead? Policy Agreement and Agenda-Setting in the House of Representatives. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Anderson, Sarah E., Daniel M. Butler, and Laurel Harbridge. Forthcoming. “Legislative Institutions as a Source of Party Leaders’ Influence.” Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Flynn, D.J., and Laurel Harbridge. Forthcoming. “How Partisan Conflict in Congress Affects Public Opinion: Strategies, Outcomes, and Issue Differences.” American Politics Research.

 

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