Legislative Behavior: Congress – GradSchoolPapers.com

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Legislative Behavior: Congress
NOTE:  To complete this portion of the assignment you will need a computer with a high speed internet connection and Microsoft Excel.  Re-read pages 403-7 in the Stewart textbook regarding NOMINATE scores.  Go to http://www.voteview.com/.  In the “Data Download” section, click on “NOMINATE data…” Read about the DW-Nominate scores and take note of the format of the legislator files (the list of 16 things will be the headings of the columns for your data).   Scroll down to the bottom of the page where the links are.  In the first block of links, select the last one called “Legislator Estimates 1st to 113th Houses (Excel File, 37,077 lines).  Save the file to a local drive then open it in Excel.  When the file is downloaded:
a.    In Excel, go to the “view” tab and select “freeze top row” from the “freeze panes” area.
b.    Delete therows that correspond to data from congresses 1 through 112.  What you are left with is NOMINATE scores for members of the 113th House.  Note that the first observation is for President Obama.
c.    Delete columns I through P so you are only left with the first-dimension Nominate score for each member.
d.    Note that scores range from -1 to 1 (mostly) where higher values are more conservative.  Also party code 200 = Republican and party code 100 = Democrat.
e.    When you write a member’s name, include the last name, party and state of the member, e.g., “Fattah (D-PA).”
f.    Answer the questions below (HINT:  Do not calculate these things by hand.  Have Excel calculate them for you.  For example, to find an average, type the equal sign, the word average, then the range of cells in which to find the average—such as “=AVERAGE(h3:h440)”:
i.    What is the mean ideology score for a member of the 113th House?
ii.    Who has the median NOMINATE value and what is the value?
iii.    Who has the maximum score?  What is it?
iv.    Who has the minimum score?  What is it?
v.    Would you expect President Obama to be more or less liberal than the median and average member of the House?  How does President Obama’s ideology score compare to the median and average House members’?
g.    Use ProQuest Congressional to find a list of the members of the House Ways & Means Committee in the 113th Congress. This short video shows how to use the resource and obtain this necessary information (http://screencast.com/t/4wZctfMA). Create a new column in your spreadsheet that indicates whether each Representative in the 113this a member of the House Ways and Means Committee (1=member, 0=non-member).
i.    Who is the median member of the House Ways and Means Committee (in the 113th Congress)?
ii.    How does the ideology of the median member of the Ways and Means Committee compare to the median of the whole chamber? (be exact)
iii.    What is the numerical difference between the score of the median Republican and the median Democrat on Ways and Means?
iv.    Is the most conservative Ways and Means Democrat still more liberal than the most liberal Republican on the committee?  Explain.


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