Union University

Union University Department of Political Science

Department of Political Science


Evans Presents Paper on the Impact of Congressional Reform on Retirement

Apr 16, 2012

 This past weekend, Dr. Evans presented a paper entitled, "The Impact of Reform on Retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives, 1945-2010" at the Midwest Political Science Association.  This paper examines the impact of House reforms on the decision to retire. Specifically, he examines the impact of the Legislative Reorganization Acts of 1946 and 1970, the DSG led reforms in the House, and the Republican-led reforms in the 104th Congress that consolidated committees, reduced the power of committee chairs and ranking members, removed committee chairs via party committees or party rules, and created a new process for selecting committee chairs that led to seniority violations. He tests the impact of these reforms on the decision of every member who ran for reelection in the 79th – 111th Congresses within four specific time periods. The results for the House show that eliminating committee chairs only impacted the decision to retire during the Republican Congresses, that removing a member as chair via a party decision or term limits exerts a large impact on the decision to retire in the reform, postreform, and Republican eras, and that denying the most senior member a chairmanship influences the decision to retire in the reform and Republican eras.