Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Document Type



Professionalism’s dual role as an independent and dependent variable makes the impact of its institutional characteristics on legislator attitudes and behavior important to understand. Professionalism affects the behavior and attitudes of the same legislators who control the strength of its characteristics through the policies they create. In this two-part study, I measure the influence of personal and contextual factors on legislator attitudes towards the adequacy of legislative professionalism in state legislatures. I then identify the effects of legislative professionalism on legislator allocation of time. I find that political (party) and personal (ambition) factors play the primary roles in shaping how legislators view the adequacy of professionalism in their legislatures. I also find that, while legislative professionalism does not significantly influence legislator attitudes towards professionalism, it does play an important role in determining the amount of time that legislators spend performing traditionally legislative activities, as well as the amount of time they would like to spend performing these activities. Overall, the legislators’ observed sense of contentment with current levels of professionalism in this study suggests that the amount of time currently allocated to their legislative activities will not be changing drastically in the near future.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Joel Turner


Legal Studies | Political Science | Political Theory