Type of Document Dissertation Author Matsumoto, Shunta URN etd-03312006-233622 Title Ideas, Interests, and American Economic Competitiveness —How Were the “Peddling Prosperity” Attempts Successful and Unsuccessful in the Polarized Legislature? Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Political Science, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Thomas M. Carsey Committee Chair Carol S. Weissert Committee Member Dale L. Smith Committee Member Lance deHaven-Smith Committee Member William D. Berry Committee Member Keywords
- Roll Call Votes
- Economic Competitiveness
- New Democrats
Date of Defense 2005-11-28 Availability unrestricted AbstractIn this dissertation, I argue that concern about economic competitiveness, which emerged among political elites in the United States in the 1980s, became a coherent and salient economic idea around which a new dimension in the issue space formed. This project analyzes the emergence of the movement to put policies pursuing economic competitiveness into legislation, mainly led by policy entrepreneurs and New Democrats, and the role of this idea in shaping the legislative behavior of members of the U.S. House of Representatives since the 1980s.
This dissertation begins with the literature review of the ideational approach in explaining policy processes. I claim that this approach has an advantage in explaining a long-term political change by integrating quantitative and qualitative research methods. After suggesting an integrative approach to demonstrate the role of an idea, I will discuss how to numerically express House members’ policy preferences on the competitiveness issue in 1981-2000. I will set up the measurement method which is mainly based on the analyses of the roll call records using the Linear Probability Model. The main finding is that members’ preference on this issue became salient over time enough to form a new dimension within the
economic policy issue space.
Then, several key House lawmaking processes on the competitiveness issue are analyzed by a combination of case descriptions and statistical tests. Using the legislators’ idea score suggested above, these statistical tests demonstrate that legislators’ votes on competitiveness bills were based on their idea score rather than their liberal-conservative ideology. Bills under statistical tests are Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, American Technology Preeminence Act of 1992, American Economic Competitiveness Act of 1993, and NAFTA ratification in 1993.
These case studies demonstrate, however, that efforts of the proponents of competitiveness policies were, however, successful in some cases but not in others. This dissertation ends with a conclusion which attempts to address this reason relying on an original concept named partial party realignment. That is, in today’s polarized party system and government institutions, political elites are facing a trade-off between accomplishing a realignment election and pursuing innovative policies.
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