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Miller and Stokes: Constituency influence in Congress

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Miller and Stokes. 1963. Constituency influence in Congress. APSR 57:45-57.

In Brief

There is a long-running debate whether members of Congress (MCs) should be Burkean trustees (make independent decisions on behalf of their constituents) or delegates (who vote the district's opinion, exercising no independent judgment). Using ANES data, the authors argue that representation styles differ depending on issue area.

In any policy area, however, voters tend to know very little about what their representative is actually doing.

Take home point: A MC's style of representation differs depending on the issue area.

Place in the Literature

See Weisberg et al. (1999) for a topic overview in the context of other research.

For another view of representation, see Fenno (1978).


The authors survey MCs and compare this with ANES data about their constituents. Miller and Stokes have been criticized for this methodology, however, since ANES data frequently has fewer than twenty respondents per district, which is too few to make valid inferences.

Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Miller, Warren (author)Stokes, Donald (author)American PoliticsResponsivenessCongress (U.S.)LegislaturesElectoral Connection

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