The Economic Organization of Legislatures and How It Affects Congressional Voting
Congress confronts two major organizational problems that affect the behavior of legislators, party leaders, and groups doing business with congressional committees: the costly nature of monitoring and the absence of explicit mechanisms for upholding agreements. The problem of monitoring implies that party leaders will have a difficult time influencing decisions made in decision-making arenas where the actions of legislators are less visible, as in congressional committees. While legislators can evade leadership monitoring of their actions within committees, once an issue leaves a committee, the costs of monitoring decline, and leadership influence increases. The absence of mechanisms for assuring that legislators keep their bargains means that groups will place an emphasis on dealing with reliable legislators--those who can be counted upon to uphold their end of a bargain. Thus, party leaders are more effective in influencing floor voting because of their better ability to monitor legislator behavior; however, obligations to important interest groups will be more immune to leadership influence because of the incentives for committee members to adhere to their bargains. Copyright 1998 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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