NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Committee Jurisdiction, Congressional Behavior and Policy Outcomes

John M. de Figueiredo

NBER Working Paper No. 17171
Issued in June 2011
NBER Program(s):   LE   PE   POL

The literature on congressional committees has largely overlooked the impact of jurisdictional fights on policy proposals and outcomes. This paper develops a theory of how legislators balance the benefits of expanded committee jurisdiction against preferred policy outcomes. It shows why a) senior members and young members in safe districts are most likely to challenge a committee’s jurisdiction; b) policy proposals may be initiated off the proposer’s ideal point in order to obtain jurisdiction; c) policy outcomes will generally be more moderate with jurisdictional fights than without these turf wars. We empirically investigate these results examining proposed Internet intellectual property protection legislation in the 106th Congress.

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