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The Econ-E Score:


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The Econ-E Score:

Econ-E score is shorthand for economic-efficiency score. This measure is constructed by investigating votes in the 106th and 107th Congresses on issues where economic efficiency was at stake.  Simply put, we included votes on legislation that economists would widely agree should yield national benefits that exceed costs (efficiency enhancing) or nationwide costs that exceed benefits (efficiency diminishing).  Efficiency enhancing policies increase the size of the national economic pie; efficiency diminishing policies reduce its size.  This measurement of efficiency does not depend on who gets the slices of the pie, but rather just its size.  Economic efficiency is an important criterion used by economists, but not the only criterion, when assessing the desirability of public policies.  Our intention in constructing the Econ-E score is to report the performance of Congressional members relative to this important criterion and then to seek an explanation for their voting pattern. Presently, this site simply reports the Econ-E score for members; we will add our explanation for their voting pattern later.  To include enough votes for reliability, we only score members seated in both the 106th and 107th Congresses.  We plan to add additional Congressional data over time.

The possible range for the Econ-E score is 0 to 100.  A score of 40, for example, indicates that the member supported the efficiency enhancing position or rejected the efficiency diminishing position 40 percent of the time. A score of 100 would indicate the member of Congress always voted to enhance economic efficiency or to reject efficiency diminishing policies.  No member received a perfect score of 100, although two received scores of zero. 

Why might members of Congress support inefficient policies?  Who gets the slices of the economic pie may be more important to a member than the overall size of the pie.  Members of Congress have constituents whose welfare might hinge upon the passage of inefficient policies.  A price control, for example, might provide a net gain to some member’s state or district while providing a net loss to the country as a whole.  It is understandable why a member might support an inefficient policy.

Voters who think that economic efficiency is desirable will find the Econ-E score useful in sizing up the record of their Representative and Senators.  The Econ-E score can be an additional tool for assessing the overall performance of our U.S. Senators and Representatives.

The Econ-E Group has attempted to include in the set of Congressional votes only those that seemed to be clear in their efficiency implications.  The actual issues voted upon and brief descriptions of the issues can be found on this website.

Legislators from all states listed at the link below.


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