Panel Paper: Foxes in the Henhouse? The Effects of Hiring Campaign Staff into Legislative Offices

Friday, November 8, 2019
I.M Pei Tower: Terrace Level, Beverly (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mark Hand, University of Texas

At the end of a successful electoral campaign, a winning candidate is rewarded with a new challenge: What happens to the organization they built to win the campaign, and how should they staff the organization they are now tasked with building, their legislative office? Some policymakers solve both problems at a stroke by hiring their political campaign staff onto their legislative teams. This paper examines the effects of those staffing choices on U.S. House Members' issue attention, legislative effectiveness, and chances of re-election.

The paper tests three hypotheses: That policymakers who hire more campaign staffers into their legislative offices will spend more of their legislative attention on issues pertinent to their particular district, as measured by the topics of the bills they introduce; that they will be less effective legislators, as measured by Volden and Wiseman's Legislative Effectiveness Score; and that they will be more likely to win re-election. By understanding the effects of political hiring decisions, policymakers can make smarter hires, and students of the policy process can better understand the impact of teams on policymakers’ priorities and effectiveness.