Legislative Organization with Informational Committees

  • Baron D
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Legislative organization in the face of uncertain policy outcomes has been investigated from the perspective of signaling models in which an informed committee reports a bill and the legislature then amends, enacts, or rejects the bill. As the political principal, however, the legislature could take the lead rather than react to the work of its agent. This article presents a new theory of legislative organization with informational committees in which the legislature as the principal explicitly structures its arrangement with a committee before the committee begins its legislative work. The theory provides a number of quite different predictions. For example, in the signaling theory a closed rule can create stronger incentives for specialization by a moderate committee than an open rule, whereas in this theory an open rule provides stronger incentives. Moreover, the legislature prefers to structure the arrangement with the committee rather than simply react to its efforts.

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  • David P. Baron

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