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Unorthodox Lawmaking & Legislator Productivity: LawProM Bill Text Reuse Measure

Fri, August 30, 8:00 to 9:30am, Marriott, Washington 2


Legislators can create law via three mechanisms: (1) traditional bill sponsorship, (2) traditional bill amendments, and (3) unorthodox bill influence--such as incorporating language into omnibus legislation. We measure legislator productivity in each of these areas by creating a productivity metric at both the chamber and congressional level for members of the 103-114th Congresses. In addition to using widely available data on bill sponsorship/passage (Volden and Wiseman 2014) and amendments (Magleby et al. 2018), we build on Wilkerson et al. (2015)’s bill text reuse method to create a measure of unorthodox bill influence. We combine achievements from each of the three lawmaking mechanisms to create our Lawmaking Productivity Metric (LawProM). We find that a significant portion of lawmaker productivity happens through amendments and unorthodox bill influence--and is therefore ignored by traditional measures of legislative effectiveness.