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Strategic Timing of Position-Taking in Congress: A Study of the North American Free Trade Agreement

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M. (The Ohio State University)
  • Arnold, Laura W. (Emory University)
  • Zorn, Christopher J.W. (Emory University)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
decision making; legislative bodies; NAFTA; politicians; research models; United States Congress
  • Abstract

    A critical element of political decision-making is the timing of various choices political actors make. Often when a decision is made is as critical as the decision itself. The principal investigators (PIs) posit a dynamic model of strategic position announcement, based in part on signaling theories of legislative politics. Specifically, they suggest that members who receive strong, clear signals from constituents, interest groups, and policy leaders, that do not conflict with their own personal preferences about which position to take, will announce their positions earlier. Those with weak or conflicting signals will seek more information from those same constituents, interest groups, and policy leaders, delaying their position announcement. The PIs test a number of these expectations by examining data on when members of the United States House of Representatives announced their support for or opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement. They also contrast the effects of explanatory variables in the dynamic timing model with those of the vote model, and find that a richer specification of the form of the variables, interactions, and a larger set of variables explain the timing decision. The research thus allows analysts to interpret both the process leading up to the House action and the end state of that process.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Collection Mode
  • (1) The data file (TIMING.ZIP) is in binary compressed (PKZIP) format. (2) These data are part of ICPSR's Publication-Related Archive and are distributed exactly as they arrived from the data depositor. ICPSR has not checked or processed this material. Users should consult the investigator(s) if further information is desired.

This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 1126 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M., Arnold, Laura W., Zorn, Christopher J.W.. The strategic timing of position taking in Congress: a study of the North American Free Trade Agreement. American Political Science Review.91, (2), 324-338.1997.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M.; Arnold, Laura W.; Zorn, Christopher J.W. (1997): Strategic Timing of Position-Taking in Congress: A Study of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.