A Theory of Competitive Partisan Lawmaking

A Theory of Competitive Partisan Lawmaking

By
Keith Krehbiel, Adam Meirowitz, Alan Wiseman
Political Science Research and Methods. July
2015, Vol. 41, Pages 1-26

Motivated by polar extremes of monopartisanship and nonpartisanship in existing literature on parties in legislatures, we introduce and analyze a more moderate theory of competitive partisan lawmaking. The distinguishing feature of competitive partisanship is that the minority party, although disadvantaged, has some guaranteed opportunities to influence lawmaking. Our analytic framework focuses on two dimensions of parties in legislatures: agenda-based competition, operationalized as a minority party right to make an amendment to the majority party’s proposal, and resource-based competition, characterized as the ability of both party leaders to use transferable resources when building winning or blocking coalitions. Building on the canonical model, we find that giving voice to the minority party in either one of these ways alone results in outcomes that, on the whole, are less lopsided and more moderate than those predicted by the existing monopartisan and nonpartisan theories.