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Divided We Govern: Party Control, Lawmaking, and Investigations, 1946-2002, Second Edition 2nd ed. Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300102888
ISBN-10: 0300102887
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this welcome updating of his agenda-setting classic, David Mayhew cogently defends his original methodology and finds that divided government remains no less productive of important legislation than unified government. Written with Mayhew’s usual clarity and grace, this is a book to be enjoyed by beginning and veteran students of Congress alike.”—Gary Jacobson, professor of political science, University of California, San Diego


First edition: “First-rate. . . . Mayhew’s tabulations and analysis are, quite simply, unimpeachable.”—Morris Fiorina, Washington Monthly


“Will stand for years as a classic.”—L. Sandy Maisel, Political Science Quarterly

About the Author

David R. Mayhew, Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University, is the author of many books, including Electoral Realignments and America’s Congress, available in paperback from Yale University Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 2nd ed. edition (June 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300102887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300102888
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
this is a book that I intended to read for some time. I maintain a blog about "divided government" and this is one of the cornerstone works of scholarship about that frequent state in the US Government.

The book can be a tough slog for a casual reader like myself. Working through the extensive footnotes and supporting material that some would consider dry, maybe even Sahara desert-like, requires some perseverance. But Mayhew has a clean, approachable style, writes with clarity, and if you are a political wonk and/or bring a curiosity of why things really get done (or don't) in Washington - it is a fascinating read.

There is a pervasive belief - a nugget of "conventional wisdom" - that if you want to "get things done" in Congress, whether legislation, investigations to clean up governmental abuses, or just promote "change", a single party must control the Presidency and both legislative branches to avoid gridlock. It certainly seems intuitively obvious that the federal government would be more productive if all branches are run by one party. In this book David Mayhew proved the conventional wisdom flat wrong, at least in the modern era. He put the proposition to the test by rigorously quantifying and analyzing all legislation and investigations (the two primary functions of Congress) from 1946-2002. First published in 1991, the book was updated with a second edition in 2005. It is the seminal reference work that debunked the notion that the federal government functions more effectively with unified single party control.

But if unified vs. divided government does not correlate to congressional productivity, what are the factors that prompts congress to "get things done"? Mahew analyzes some of the possibilities in the book.
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This book is fantastic. I am glad it was assigned to me for a graduate course on Congress. Mayhew does a completely amazing job of tackling a huge question with empirical research. Is government more or less effective during times of divided or united government? His research rocked the political science world and challenged all the current research. Mayhew's writing is easy to understand and I appreciate his follow-up with additional research to bring the data up to date (i.e. - 2002). Would highly recommed this book to those interested in Congress or studying Congress.
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