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Research Presentation: Mona Vakilifathi
Please join PADP Wednesday, February 27th in the Pinnacle Room for a research presentation from Mona Vakilifathi, Assistant Professor of Public Service from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Do Electorally-Vulnerable Legislators Grant More or Less Statutory Discretion?
What is the effect of a change in individual-level electoral competition on a reelection-seeking legislator’s statutory discretion to the bureaucracy? I utilize a within-subject natural experiment in the California State Legislature during the 2011-12 regular legislative session. I test the effect of a change in a reelection-seeking legislator’s electoral competition in her current and future district on the statutory discretion in her introductory legislation before and after the California Citizens Redistricting Commission’s inaugural release of the legislative district maps in 2011 and 2012. I find that an increase in electoral competition results in a decrease in statutory discretion only for the incumbent legislators running for office in an election year. If a legislator is less certain that she will win in the upcoming election, the findings demonstrate that she is more likely to invest the time and resources necessary to grant less statutory discretion to the bureaucracy in order to credit claim with interest groups and maximize campaign contributions.