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Cho and Fowler on Small World Networks in Congress

Abstract: We examine the social network structure of Congress from 1973-2004. We treat two Members of Congress as directly linked if they have cosponsored a bill together. We then construct explicit networks for each year using data from all forms of legislation, including resolutions, public and private bills, and amendments. We show that Congress exemplifies the characteristics of a “small world” network and that the varying small world properties during this time period are strongly related to the number of important bills passed.

Wendy K. Tam Cho and James H. Fowler (2007), “Legislative Success in a Small World: Social Network Analysis and the Dynamics of Congressional Legislation,” unpublished paper. Available here.

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