IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/11356.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Informational Theory of Legislative Committees: An Experimental Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Battaglini, Marco
  • Lai, Ernest
  • Lim, Wooyoung
  • Tao-yi Wang, Joseph

Abstract

We experimentally investigate the informational theory of legislative committees first proposed by Gilligan and Krehbiel [1987, 1989]. Two committees provide policy-relevant information to a legislature under two different procedural rules. Under the open rule, the legislature is free to make any decision; under the closed rule, the legislature is constrained to choose between a committee's proposal and an exogenous status quo. Our experiment shows that even in the presence of conflicts of interests, legislative committees help improve the legislature's decision by providing useful information. We further obtain evidence in support of three theoretical predictions: the Outlier Principle, according to which more extreme preferences of the committees reduce the extent of information transmission; the Distributional Principle, according to which the open rule is more distributionally eefficient than the closed rule; and the Restrictive-rule Principle, according to which the closed rule better facilitates the informational role of legislative committees. We, however, obtain mixed evidence for the Heterogeneity Principle, according to which more information can be extracted in the presence of multiple committees with heterogeneous preferences. Our experimental findings provide overall support for the equilibrium predictions of Gilligan and Krehbiel [1989], some of which have been controversial in the literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Battaglini, Marco & Lai, Ernest & Lim, Wooyoung & Tao-yi Wang, Joseph, 2016. "The Informational Theory of Legislative Committees: An Experimental Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 11356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11356
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11356
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marco Battaglini, 2002. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1379-1401, July.
    2. Krehbiel, Keith, 2001. "Plausibility of Signals by a Heterogeneous Committee," Research Papers 1678, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    4. Krehbiel, Keith, 1990. "Are Congressional Committees Composed of Preference Outliers?," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 149-163, March.
    5. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-89-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1989. "Cheap Talk with Two Audiences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1214-1223, December.
    7. Sanchez-Pages, Santiago & Vorsatz, Marc, 2007. "An experimental study of truth-telling in a sender-receiver game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 86-112, October.
    8. Ernst Fehr & Holger Herz & Tom Wilkening, 2013. "The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1325-1359, June.
    9. Navin Kartik, 2009. "Strategic Communication with Lying Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1359-1395.
    10. 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.
    11. Lai, Ernest K. & Lim, Wooyoung & Wang, Joseph Tao-yi, 2015. "An experimental analysis of multidimensional cheap talk," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 114-144.
    12. Minozzi, William & Woon, Jonathan, 2016. "Competition, preference uncertainty, and jamming: A strategic communication experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 97-114.
    13. Krehbiel, Keith, 2001. "Plausibility of Signals by a Heterogeneous Committee," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 453-457, June.
    14. Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
    15. Vincent P. Crawford, 2003. "Lying for Strategic Advantage: Rational and Boundedly Rational Misrepresentation of Intentions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 133-149, March.
    16. 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.
    17. Lai, Ernest K. & Lim, Wooyoung, 2012. "Authority and communication in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 541-560.
    18. Emanuel Vespa & Alistair J. Wilson, 2016. "Communication with multiple senders: An experiment," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(1), pages 1-36, March.
    19. Marco Battaglini & Uliana Makarov, 2012. "Cheap Talk with Multiple Audiences: an Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 1417, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    20. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    21. Kartik, Navin & Ottaviani, Marco & Squintani, Francesco, 2007. "Credulity, lies, and costly talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 93-116, May.
    22. Joseph Tao-yi Wang & Michael Spezio & Colin F. Camerer, 2010. "Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 984-1007, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Eleonora Patacchini, 2020. "Social Groups and the Effectiveness of Protests," NBER Working Papers 26757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lubensky, Dmitry & Schmidbauer, Eric, 2018. "Equilibrium informativeness in veto games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 104-125.
    3. Minozzi, William & Woon, Jonathan, 2019. "The limited value of a second opinion: Competition and exaggeration in experimental cheap talk games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 144-162.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    information transmission; laboratory experiment; legislative committees;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C82 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11356. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.