Data Readme File

This disk contains two Microsoft Excel Version 5.0 files, serge1.xls and surge2.xls .

The first contains two "sheets" with summary counts of important legislation
per Congress and per year, 1945-1994 (the 79th to 103rd Congresses). The
second spreadsheet, surge2.xls, contains data on each of the laws coded as
Groups A, B, or C (the important laws). The category "D" laws are treated as
a residual -- they failed to meet the criteria defining the more important
laws and so are not included there.

The coding rules and various methodological details are presented and
discussed at length in Charles Cameron, William G. Howell, Scott Adler, and
Charles Riemann, "Divided Government and the Legislative Productivity of
Congress, 1945-1994."

NSF grant SES-9223396 partially funded the collection of the data.

The variables in surge1.xls--sheet 1 (yearly) are:

1. session: the congress number, with decimal indicating session 1 or
session 2.
2. yr -- the year
3. groupA
4. groupB
5. groupC
6. groupD
7. totalpl -- the total number of public laws in that session, from the
annual CQ Almanacs
8. gAsumlth -- the sum of the length in page numbers of the coverage in the
CQ Almanac (rounded to the near 1/4 page) for that year, for all the laws in
Group A (the coverage for each law can be found in surge2.xls).
9. gBsumlth -- same, but for the Group B laws
10. unified -- whether one party controls the House, Senate, and Presidency
that year.

The variables in surge1.xls--sheet 2 (cong) are similar except:
1. cong -- replaces session. The congress number
following "unified" are two new variables:
2. groupA1
3. groupA2

The latter are alternatives to Group A and Mayhew's Sweep 1; they are explained
in "Divided Government".

Surge2.xls contains a row with variable names, and then records on 2288 public
laws, each row corresponding to one public law.

The variables in surge2.xls are:

1. congress -- the congress number
2. year -- the year of enactment of the law
3. plnum -- the public law number of the law
4. billnum -- the bill number for the law, e.g., HR 3240
5. descrip1 -- a brief description of the law based largely on the yearend
roundups in the New York Times and Washington Post
6. descrip2 -- also a brief description, but based more on the description in
the CQ Almanac.
7. title -- brief title for the law, if it has one
8. signif -- significance rating (A, B, or C)
9. sweep1 -- coded as "true" if it is one of David Mayhew's Sweep1 laws, and
blank otherwise
10. sweep2 -- similar, for Mayhew's Sweep 2 laws
11. cqcite -- gives the page numbers in the appropriate annual volume of the
CQ Almanac, discussing the law
12. cqlength -- the summed length of the coverage in the CQ Almanac, rounded
to the nearest 1/4 page
13. wpcite -- gives the date of coverage of the law in the Washington Post,
from the yearend roundups, closing session stories, and accompanying evaluative
14. nytcite -- similar, for the New York Times
15. billtype -- 0= appropriation; 1 = a reauthorization; 2 = discretionary, meaning a new authorization; 3 = other, meaning pay raises, increases in the debt ceiling.
16. veto -- coded "true" if the bill was vetoed, otherwise blank. Obviously,
the veto was overridden.
17. vetochain -- coded "true" if the bill was part of a veto chain. Singletons
-- bills vetoed only once don't count as part of a vetochain. But included are
successor bills to vetoed bills that were not over-ridden. So a bill may be in
a veto chain -- as a successor bill -- but was not itself vetoed.

The variables in surge2.xls take the form they do because they are exported
from an Approach data base file. That file contains additional material not
included in the spread sheet. I would be happy to supply a copy of the entire
data base.

At present I am reachable at

Charles Cameron
Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
Friday, February 27, 1998