Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Terry G. Geske


This study investigated legislative expert influence in the context of educational policy decisions. Institutional and behavioral approaches to legislative study were compared. In a chi square analysis of all legislative education enrollments in the 1993 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, legislation introduction success was positively associated with author's level of credential and reputation expertise. Relative importance of type of expertise was indeterminable and some influence was unaccountable in the analysis. The policy approach, based on Theodore Lowi's theory that policy predicts politics, integrated the prior approaches. Lowi's distributive-regulatory-redistributive schema informed the independent policy variables, while influence, role, and subsystem theories were bases for the independent information source and legislator expertise variables. The political phenomenon was the dependent measure of legislative educational expert influence. A legislative simulation was conducted in the 1993 Regular Session with two groups of 24 legislators, who were comparable on social-demographic background but contrasted on membership on the education policy committees. Interviews included administration of the Legislative Reference and Resource Survey, in which three types of educational policy and five categories of information sources were manipulated, producing influence assessments on a 0-3 scale, specific named information sources, and other data concerning the internal flow of information. In a three-factor analysis of variance performed on scale scores, distributive policy produced overall (high) potential for influence, significantly different from that produced in regulatory (moderate) and redistributive policy (low). Legislature and constituency were most influential, differing significantly from staff and agencies and also from interest groups. Legislators with expertise valued agencies more than did their non-expert peers, who depended upon constituency more. In qualitative data analysis, distributive policy produced high diversity and many experts. Redistributive and regulatory policies produced succeedingly lower diversity scores and fewer and different experts, suggesting greater potential influence for any one expert. Redistributive and regulatory issues were more salient for legislators than distributive issues, and a pattern of situational leadership prevailed. Legislative educational leadership was concluded as the premiere source of policy information, its influence relative to the policy context.