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Title: Social Interactions and Legislative Activity

We develop a model of social interactions, as well as strategic interactions that depend on such social activity, and use it to measure social complementarities in the legislative process. Our model allows for partisan bias and homophily in the formation of relationships, which then impact legislative output. We use it to show how increased electoral competition can induce increased social behavior and the nonlinear effects of political polarization on legislative activity. We identify and structurally estimate our model using data on social and legislative efforts of members of each of the 105th–110th U.S. Congresses (1997–2009). We find large spillover effects in the form of complementarities between the efforts of politicians, both within and across parties. Although partisanship and preference differences between parties are significant drivers of socializing, our empirical evidence paints a less polarized picture of the informal connections of legislators than typically emerges from legislative votes alone.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of the European Economic Association
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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