How important is expertise and experience in Congress?

From Politics in Question, a podcast by Julia Azari (Marquette University), Lee Drutman (New America), and James Wallner (R Street Institute):

This episode Alexander C. Furnas joins Julia, Lee, and James to consider the importance of expertise and experience in making Congress work. What role do staff play in making Congress work? Does the ongoing decline in issue-area expertise and experience among staffers explain today’s political dysfunction. Or is the problem a decline in members’ ability to legislate? What reforms can address these issues? These are some of the questions they consider during the conversation.

Alexander is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center of Science and Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He studies the use of information, science, and expertise in policymaking, interest groups, and elite political behavior using survey, text analysis and network methods. Alexander has published articles in the American Political Science Review, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. Most recently, he coauthored “Congressional Brain Drain: Legislative Capacity in the 21st Century” with Timothy M. LaPira.

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