Entrepreneur or Agent: Congressmen and the distribution of casework, 1977-1978.

If casework has electoral or policy consequences, incumbents receiving more casework requests will be advantaged over those receiving fewer. Examining casework loads in the 1982 House of Representatives, this article reports that casework loads vary greatly across the membership and that case volume seems to have declined since 1977. Two hypotheses explaining the distribution of casework are tested: (1) congressmen as entrepreneurs, aggressively generating demands for casework, and (2) congressmen as relatively passive agents, whose casework loads are determined more by the nature of the constituency than by any efforts by the members of their staffs. Both hypotheses receive support, but the "congressman as agent" perspective provides a stronger explanation. The analysis suggests, further, that casework is perceived nonpolitically as merely part of a congressman's job. The implication is that there can be relatively little electoral payoff and that efforts to stimulate casework requests are relatively inefficient.

Main Author: Johannes, John.
Other Authors: McAdams, John.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 1986
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:177452