Representing the Disadvantaged: Group Interests and Legislator Reputation in US Congress, Katrina F. McNally
Why do Members of Congress build legislative reputation for disadvantaged groups? In Representing the Disadvantaged, McNally tries to answer this classical but highly timely question with some interesting tweaks both theoretically and empirically. While it ultimately shows importance of not only member’s characteristics but also constituency conditions, there are a lot of nuances throughout the book that academic and nonacademic readers would find very interesting.
First and foremost, McNally does an excellent job in theoretically conceptualizing and empirically measuring the notion of legislative reputation for disadvantaged groups. She is not satisfied with scholarly tradition of paying narrow attention to specific activities, such as roll call voting or committee membership. Instead, a reputation is defined in a way that is greater than the sum of individual activities. Moreover, it also captures symbolic values that legislators would like to build ultimately.
McNally utilizes MC’s profile from CQ’s Politics in America in order to measure legislative reputation. I find this extremely interesting and valuable because the profiles tend to reflect legislative priorities and past work in Congress that members would like to “claim” to be associated with. I could not agree more that this is much better app
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