Compensation, Opportunity, and Information: A Comparative Analysis of Legislative Nonresponse in the American States

David Fortunato, Tessa Provins

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We present a parsimonious framework for understanding contextual variation in legislative nonresponse. We argue that legislators’ propensity to vote is a function of their willingness and ability to be physically present in the chamber and determine the best position to take on a given proposal. From this framework, we derive four hypotheses regarding the compensation legislators receive, their opportunity to pursue work outside of the chamber, and their informational resources. Analyzing data on over seven million voting opportunities across two sessions in ninety-nine chambers, we find robust evidence that longer legislative sessions decrease nonresponse and that informational resources increase nonresponse, but no evidence that compensation influences nonresponse.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)644-656
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Institutions
  • Legislative
  • Professionalism
  • Legislative voting
  • Nonresponse

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