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Seniority and anti-competitive restrictions on the legislative common pool: tenure’s impact on the overall production of legislation and the concentration of political benefits

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  • Russell Sobel

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  • Matt Ryan

Abstract

It is well established that geographic areas benefit, in terms of the share of government spending they capture, from having a legislator with longer tenure, holding constant the tenure of other legislators. However, the implications of this literature for how the total production of legislation changes if all members gained seniority is less clear. Increased levels and dispersion of seniority within Congress generate a cartel-like effect, whereby legislators restrict the quantity of legislation enacted and increase the average price of each passed bill. The analysis provides a natural experiment to gauge the impacts of the emergence of the congressional committee system. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Russell Sobel & Matt Ryan, 2012. "Seniority and anti-competitive restrictions on the legislative common pool: tenure’s impact on the overall production of legislation and the concentration of political benefits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 171-190, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:153:y:2012:i:1:p:171-190
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-011-9780-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Weingast, Barry R & Marshall, William J, 1988. "The Industrial Organization of Congress; or, Why Legislatures, Like Firms, Are Not Organized as Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 132-163, February.
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    3. Holcombe, Randall G, 1999. "Veterans Interests and the Transition to Government Growth: 1870-1915," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 311-326, June.
    4. Shughart, William F, II & Tollison, Robert D, 1985. "Legislation and Political Business Cycles," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(1), pages 43-59.
    5. Parker, Glenn R, 1992. "The Distribution of Honoraria Income in the U.S. Congress: Who Gets Rents in Legislatures and Why?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 167-181, March.
    6. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    7. Holcombe, Randall G & Parker, Glenn R, 1991. "Committees in Legislatures: A Property Rights Perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 70(1), pages 11-20, April.
    8. Arleen Leibowitz & Robert Tollison, 1980. "A Theory of Legislative Organization: Making the Most of Your Majority," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 261-277.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:01:p:89-106_18 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. McCormick, Robert E & Tollison, Robert D, 1978. "Legislatures as Unions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 63-78, February.
    11. Crain, W Mark, 1977. "On the Structure and Stability of Political Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(4), pages 829-842, August.
    12. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
    13. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2016. "Governors’ term of office and information disclosure: Evidence from Japan," Journal of Economics and Econometrics, Economics and Econometrics Society, vol. 59(1), pages 48-78.
    2. Yamamura, Eiji, 2013. "Governor’s term and information disclosure: Evidence from Japan," MPRA Paper 45848, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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