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The Impression of InfluenceLegislator Communication, Representation, and Democratic Accountability$
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Justin Grimmer, Sean J. Westwood, and Solomon Messing

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162614

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162614.001.0001

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How Legislators Create an Impression of Influence

How Legislators Create an Impression of Influence

(p.32) Chapter 3 How Legislators Create an Impression of Influence
The Impression of Influence

Justin Grimmer

Sean J. Westwood

Solomon Messing

Princeton University Press

This chapter characterizes legislators' credit-claiming efforts, demonstrating how often legislators claim credit for spending, what legislators claim credit for securing, and the amount legislators publicize. It develops accurate measures of legislators' credit-claiming rates and then shows how legislators' credit-claiming strategies reflect the types of districts they represent. Legislators with the greatest incentive to cultivate a personal vote claim credit more often than colleagues who can win reelection with appeals to their partisan base. The chapter also illuminates how members of Congress claim credit broadly and not just for money that is earmarked during the appropriations process. This behavior includes claiming credit for requests made during the appropriations process even if the expenditures only have a small chance of actually reaching the district. What is more, legislators claim credit for more than funds earmarked during the appropriations process. They also claim credit for grants that executive agencies allocate.

Keywords:   legislators, credit claiming, spending, credit-claiming rates, credit-claiming strategies, personal vote, appropriations process

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