Legislative committees as information intermediaries: A unified theory of committee selection and amendment rules
This paper considers a model of legislative decision-making, in which information must be collected from a strategic lobbyist. The legislature appoints a committee to communicate with the lobbyist and propose a bill, and determines whether the proposal is processed under open or closed rule. Consistent with empirical evidence, it can be optimal for the legislature to appoint a biased committee and, depending on the lobbyist's bias, both open and closed rule are used in equilibrium. For small lobbyist bias, it is optimal to choose closed rule and a committee whose interests are perfectly aligned with the lobbyist's. For intermediate lobbyist bias, closed rule remains optimal with a committee whose preferences lie between those of the legislature and those of the lobbyist. For large lobbyist bias, open rule and a committee biased against the lobbyist become optimal.
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