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Edited by William F. Shughart II and Laura Razzolini
10 On legislatures and legislative efﬁciency wages Robert E. McCormick and Chad S. Turner 1 Introduction The legislatures of the states in the United States are an interesting study in political economy. They are as varied as the people, land, and property they represent. Governed by constitutions written and rewritten, some so often as hardly to be called constitutions, their functions are similar, but their operations are not. In this chapter we summarize some of the salient facts about state legislatures and offer some new evidence on the determinants of legislator pay. We are motivated primarily by an interest in the diverse sizes, structures, and operating rules of the legislative bodies across the land. It was little more than a quarter century or so ago that economists began to colonize the study of legislatures in an empirically meaningful way, an area previously left mostly to the political scientists. Tollison, Crain, and others blazed this trail by pointing to the wealth of data available about the structures and outputs of state legislatures.1 Research topics since that time have included the role of legislative committees, their chairs, the impact of political parties, or lack thereof, and the causes and consequences of constitutional constraints determining such matters as the disparity of a legislature’s chamber sizes and the length and regularity of its sessions.2 As is often the case after a gold rush, most of the ore has been extracted from the mine, but improved technology allows us to recover a few remaining...
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