Title

Are Congressional Black Caucus Members More Reliable? Loyalty Screening and Committee Assignments of Newly Elected Legislators

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-1-2007

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

As previous research has suggested, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) demonstrates the characteristics of a well-functioning vote-producing cartel in both the degree and uniformity to which it supports the leadership of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives. As previous work has pointed out, this cartel is, therefore, rewarded by House Democrats through selection for service on "important" committees at the beginning of each Congress. However, Democratic leaders have very little, if any, information to guide them in their choices regarding committee placement for newly elected Democratic representatives. As such, they are likely to use past CBC uniformity and loyalty as a low-cost screening device for predicting future reliability. Examination of the committee placement of newly elected Democrats to the U.S. House from the 103(rd) Congress through the 106(th) Congress reveals such a pattern by House Democratic leaders. In other words, newly elected CBC Democrats face much higher probabilities of receiving "important" committee assignments than their newly elected non-CBC counterparts, ceteris paribus.

Publication Title

American Journal of Economics and Sociology

Volume

66

Issue

2

First Page

413

Last Page

431