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Community structure in the United States House of Representatives

Porter, Mason A. and Mucha, Peter J. and Newman, M. E. J. and Friend, A. J. (2007) Community structure in the United States House of Representatives. Physica A, 386 (1). pp. 414-438. ISSN 0378-4371. doi:10.1016/j.physa.2007.07.039.

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We investigate the networks of committee and subcommittee assignments in the United States House of Representatives from the 101st–108th Congresses, with the committees connected by “interlocks” or common membership. We examine the community structure in these networks using several methods, revealing strong links between certain committees as well as an intrinsic hierarchical structure in the House as a whole. We identify structural changes, including additional hierarchical levels and higher modularity, resulting from the 1994 election, in which the Republican party earned majority status in the House for the first time in more than 40 years. We also combine our network approach with the analysis of roll call votes using singular value decomposition to uncover correlations between the political and organizational structure of House committees.

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Additional Information:© 2007 Elsevier. Received 16 February 2007, Revised 2 June 2007, Available online 27 July 2007. We thank Gordon Kingsley for challenging ideas that prompted some of this research; Michael Abraham for developing some of the computer codes; Casey Warmbrand for converting data into a usable format; Thomas Callaghan for his computer codes and comments on this manuscript; Ron Burt, Aaron Clauset, Sharad Goel, Debra Goldberg, Chris Wiggins, and Yan Zhang for useful conversations; and James Fowler for a critical reading of this manuscript. We thank two anonymous referees for critical comments that lead to changes that have improved the paper. We also acknowledge support provided by a National Science Foundation VIGRE grant awarded to the School of Mathematics at Georgia Tech. MAP was also supported in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through Caltech's Center for the Physics of Information. PJM was also supported by start-up funds provided by the Institute for Advanced Materials, Nanoscience and Technology and the Department of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We obtained the roll call data for the 102nd–107th Congresses from the Voteview web site [45], the roll call data for the 101st Congress from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research [46], and the committee assignments for the 101st–108th Congresses from the web site of the House of Representatives Office of the Clerk [32].
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Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Complex networks; Community structure; Social networks; Hierarchical clustering
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:PACS: 89.75.Fb; 89.65. � s; 89.75. � k; 07.05.Kf
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170408-142814888
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Official Citation:Mason A. Porter, Peter J. Mucha, M.E.J. Newman, A.J. Friend, Community structure in the United States House of Representatives, Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Volume 386, Issue 1, 1 December 2007, Pages 414-438, ISSN 0378-4371, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75950
Deposited By: 1Science Import
Deposited On:21 Apr 2017 20:39
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 16:56

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