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Estimating the Value of Proposal Power

  • Brian Knight

This paper investigates the role of proposal power in the allocation of transportation projects across U.S. congressional districts in 1991 and 1998. The evidence supports the key qualitative prediction of legislative bargaining models: members with proposal power — those sitting on the transportation authorization committee — secure more project spending for their districts than do other representatives. Support for the quantitative restrictions on the value of proposal power is more mixed. I then empirically address several alternative models of legislative behavior, including partisan models, informational roles for committees, models with appropriations committees, and theories of committees as preference outliers.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 95 (2005)
Issue (Month): 5 (December)
Pages: 1639-1652

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:5:p:1639-1652
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282805775014290
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  1. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2002. "Lobbying Legislatures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 919-948, August.
  2. Daniel Diermeier & Hulya Eraslan & Antonio Merlo, 2003. "A Structural Model of Government Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 27-70, January.
  3. Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. V. V. Chari & Larry E. Jones & Ramon Marimon, 1997. "The economics of split-ticket voting in representative democracies," Working Papers 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Elhanan Helpman & Torsten Persson, 1998. "Lobbying and Legislative Bargaining," NBER Working Papers 6589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Brian Knight, 2002. "Endogenous Federal Grants and Crowd-out of State Government Spending: Theory and Evidence from the Federal Highway Aid Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 71-92, March.
  7. Atlas, Cary M, et al, 1995. "Slicing the Federal Government Net Spending Pie: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 624-29, June.
  8. Baron, David P & Ferejohn, John, 1987. "Bargaining and Agenda Formation in Legislatures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 303-09, May.
  9. Dharmapala, Dhammika, 1999. "Comparing tax expenditures and direct subsidies: the role of legislative committee structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 421-454, June.
  10. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  11. Brian Knight, 2004. "Legislative Representation, Bargaining Power, and the Distribution of Federal Funds: Evidence from the U.S. Senate," NBER Working Papers 10385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gilligan, Thomas W & Krehbiel, Keith, 1987. "Collective Decisionmaking and Standing Committees: An Informational Rationale for Restrictive Amendment Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 287-335, Fall.
  13. Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel & Steven Lehrer, 2000. "Bargaining in Legislatures: An Experimental Investigation of Open versus Closed Amendment Rules," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1515, Econometric Society.
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