American Government and Politics

Leadership Continuity, Cosponsor Cues, and Bill Advancement in State Legislatures



While many studies of state legislatures have considered collective levels of experience due to term limits or turnover, little research has focused specifically on turnover at the highest levels of legislative leadership. Continuity in legislative leadership varies tremendously across state legislatures, from leaders who serve for a generation to chambers where every session features a new speaker or president. In this paper, I ask whether leadership experience has ramifications in the policymaking process, and especially with respect to the floor agenda. More specifically, I ask whether the linkage between cosponsor cues and bill success differs for experienced and inexperienced leaders. Looking at bills considered in 26 state legislative lower chambers from 2012-2020, I find no evidence of differences between new and continuing leaders, indicating that leaders quickly learn to use cosponsor cues and that this aspect of legislative turnover does not meaningfully inhibit legislative productivity.


Thumbnail image of Makse Leadership Cues Paper April 22.pdf


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