The study of legislative activity is the study of individual dynamics. Various theories have been proposed to explain why legislatures choose certain courses of action, yet each fails to capture the full scope of the dynamic nature of legislative decisionmaking. Proponents of pluralism, one of two dominant theories in the field, have emphasized that legislative decisionmaking is a process of change driven by interest group pressure. Public choice theorists respond that pluralists have focused on the wrong underlying cause, or have failed to reduce the identified cause to its most basic component. Specifically, public choice advocates have identified individual utility maximization as the basic cause and defining force of legislative activity. In this view, legislators take positions which will increase chances for reelection (electoral advantage) or attract campaign contributions and other support needed for reelection (financial advantage).

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