Lame-Duck Legislators and Consideration of the Ship Subsidy Bill of 1922

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The notion that electoral concerns are strong determinants of roll call voting provides the foundation for many theories of legislative behavior. To measure the importance of electoral considerations, the authors analyze a vote held in an environment in which a sizable number of members faced no electoral constraints: a lame-duck session of the House. The authors analyze the vote on a ship subsidy bill considered in a special lame-duck session of the 67th Congress (1922). In particular, the authors are interested in the possibility that lame-duck members were more inclined to support the politically unpopular proposal and whether they were able to translate that support into political benefits, such as presidential appointments. The authors estimate a series of probit models and find that lame-duck Republicans, notably those defeated in their reelection bids, were significantly more likely to vote in favor of final passage.