• Article

Congressional Career Patterns and Party Systems

This article proposes a nonlinear model for the careers of members of the U.S. House of Representatives. This model is easily interpretable, in spite of its nonlinearity, and yields a measure, here called the 'career coefficient,' that summarizes the career patterns of any freshman class. For data from the 1st through the 93rd Congresses, the model fits extremely well. Comparing the career coefficients of the 93 freshman classes, we have found that the pattern of congressional careers follows the pattern of the party-system eras in American politics. These patterns can be accounted for by the levels of interparty competition characteristic of the party systems, as well as by the general desirability of a House seat during these historical periods


Brookshire, RG., & Iii, DFD. (1983). Congressional Career Patterns and Party Systems. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 8(1), 65-78.