G. Rosas and J. Langston, “Gubernatorial Effects on the Voting Behavior of National Legislators”, Journal of Politics, 73 (2), 2011.
Are subnational political elites, such as governors, capable of affecting the voting behavior of national representatives even in the face of high legislative discipline? We address this question by estimating the exogenous causal effect of gubernatorial influence on the voting behavior of national legislators in Mexico, where constitutional provisions guarantee that the political survival times of governors and legislators are fixed and known ex ante and where we can thus know precisely which legislators will leave congress before their state governor’s term has expired. We posit that such legislators will be more willing to represent gubernatorial preferences because they expect the governor to find them employment upon finishing their stay in congress. We find that governors whose terms end after the term of the national assembly are able to systematically increase the voting cohesion of legislators from their own party and state and that these effects are substantively important.
Note: Scott Desposato has pointed out to us that there is a design failure in our study. Because the number of observed roll-calls varies across party-state contingents, part of the observed effect of gubernatorial terms on party-state contingent cohesion may simply reflect different amounts of available votes. It remains to be seen if the “gubernatorial effect” survives after correcting for this source of bias, which had not been obvious to us. We thank Professor Desposato for bringing this mistake to our attention.