Tracy Sulkin

Award Information

Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants 2017

On Good Behavior: Self-Policing of Norms in the U.S. House of Representatives

I examine how members of the House of Representatives self-police within and across party lines to punish “bad” behavior and encourage adherence to norms of ethics, hard work, civility, and reciprocity. I argue that these norms comprise the infrastructure upon which the negotiation of agreement over policy becomes possible. Using data on legislative activity that spans three decades (the 101st-114th congresses), I explore the effects of transgressions on the success of individual MCs and on the relationships among legislators that comprise the congressional network. I show that even in an era of heightened disagreement, such norms are alive and well.