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Whose Ear (or Arm) to Bend? Information Sources and Venue Choice in Policy Making

  • Frederick J. Boehmke

    (University of Iowa)

  • Sean Gailmard

    (Northwestern University)

  • John W. Patty

    (Carnegie Mellon University)

Registered author(s):

    Important conceptualizations of both interest groups and bureaucratic agencies suggest that these institutions provide legislatures with greater information for use in policy making. Yet little is known about how these information sources interact in the policy process as a whole. In this paper we consider this issue analytically, and develop a model of policy making in which multiple sources of information – from the bureaucracy, an interest group, or a legislature’s own in-house development – can be brought to bear on policy. Lobbyists begin this process by selecting a venue – Congress or a standing bureaucracy – in which to press for a policy change. The main findings of the paper are that self-selection of lobbyists into different policy making venues can be informative per se; that this self-selection can make legislatures willing to delegate more authority to ideologically distinct bureaucratic agents; and that delegation of authority, while it takes advantage of agency expertise, can nevertheless lead to an increase in the legislature’s own in-house information gathering (e.g., hearings). Changes within the Federal Trade Commission during the 1970s are reinterpreted in the context of our model.

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    File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/pe/papers/0502/0502009.pdf
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    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 0502009.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: 16 Feb 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0502009
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 31
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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    1. Bendor, Jonathan & Glazer, Ami & Hammond, Thomas H., 2000. "Theories of Delegation in Political Science," Research Papers 1655, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    2. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-77, Fall.
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