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The economic organization of legislatures and how it affects congressional voting

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  • Glenn Parker
  • Suzanne Parker

Abstract

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 Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn Parker & Suzanne Parker, 1998. "The economic organization of legislatures and how it affects congressional voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 117-129, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:95:y:1998:i:1:p:117-129
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1004938413319
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grier, Kevin B & Munger, Michael C, 1991. "Committee Assignments, Constituent Preferences, and Campaign Contributions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 24-43, January.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:55:y:1961:i:02:p:358-367_12 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
    4. Peter Schönemann & Robert Carroll, 1970. "Fitting one matrix to another under choice of a central dilation and a rigid motion," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 35(2), pages 245-255, June.
    5. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 875-901, December.
    6. Crain, W Mark & Leavens, Donald R & Tollison, Robert D, 1986. "Final Voting in Legislatures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 833-841, September.
    7. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 1979. "Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 365-384, October.
    8. Peltzman, Sam, 1985. "An Economic Interpretation of the History of Congressional Voting in the Twentieth Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 656-675, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. A. Abigail Payne, 2003. "The Effects of Congressional Appropriation Committee Membership on the Distribution of Federal Research Funding to Universities," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(2), pages 325-345, April.
    2. Gawande, Kishore & Hoekman, Bernard, 2006. "Lobbying and Agricultural Trade Policy in the United States," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 527-561, July.
    3. Gawande, Kishore, 2005. "The structure of lobbying and protection in U.S. agriculture," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3722, The World Bank.

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