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Explaining Public Attitudes on State Legislative Professionalism

By Jeffrey Milyo, David M. Konisky and Jr. Lilliard E. Richardson

Abstract

Scholars have long argued that state legislative professionalism, or the provision of staff, legislator salary, and session length, has behavioral incentives for legislators and implications for legislative capacity. Scant attention, however, has been devoted to public attitudes on the provision of these legislative resources. Using survey data on preferences for features associated with a citizen legislature versus a professional legislature, we examine the contours of public attitudes on professionalism and test models on the factors associated with these attitudes. Results suggest partisanship, trust, and approval of the local delegation matter, but the factors differ by the legislative professionalism of the respondents state and for low versus high knowledge citizens.Legislative Professionalism, Public Opinion, Political Economy

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