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Sizing Up the Senate

The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation

We take it for granted that every state has two representatives in the United States Senate. Apply the "one person, one vote" standard, however, and the Senate is the most malapportioned legislature in the democratic world.

But does it matter that California’s 32 million people have the same number of Senate votes as Wyoming’s 480,000? Frances Lee and Bruce Oppenheimer systematically show that the Senate’s unique apportionment scheme profoundly shapes legislation and representation. The size of a state’s population affects the senator-constituent relationship, fund-raising and elections, strategic behavior within the Senate, and, ultimately, policy decisions. They also show that less populous states consistently receive more federal funding than states with more people. In sum, Lee and Oppenheimer reveal that Senate apportionment leaves no aspect of the institution untouched.

This groundbreaking book raises new questions about one of the key institutions of American government and will interest anyone concerned with issues of representation.

288 pages | 6 line drawings, 37 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1999

Political Science: American Government and Politics

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Senate Apportionment in Theoretical and Historical Perspective
3. The Representational Experience
4. Electoral Competiveness, Campaign Fund-Raising, and Partisan Advantage
5. Senate Strategies
6. The Small-State Advantage in the Distribution of Federal Dollars
7. Designing Policy: How the Senate Makes Small States Winners
8. The Undemocratic Senate?
A. The Schubert-Press Measure of Legislative Malapportionment
B. Senators’ Mentions on National Nightly News Broadcasts, 103d and 104th Congresses
C. Key Votes Included in the Analysis of Hold-Out Behavior in Chapter 5
D. Programs Studied in Chapter 7
E. Data on the Sample of Formula Grants-in-Aid
F. House-Senate Conflict over the Programs Sampled


Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation: D.B. Hardeman Prize

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