Who Controls? Information and the Structure of Legislative Decision Making

Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, August 1994

14 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2007

See all articles by Arthur Lupia

Arthur Lupia

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University

Abstract

Legislatures around the world first delegate some of their policy making authority to experts and then accept their delegates' proposals without question or amendment. Many scholars see this combination of events as evidence that complexity lead elected representatives to lose control of the actions of government. While we agree that complexity and delegation can render legislatures powerless, we argue that legislators around the world can, and do, overcome these politically damaging forces. Specifically, we use a model of legislative behavior to show how both institutional characteristics and conditions that allow people to learn from others provide legislators with the faculty to protect their interests. We conclude that certain structural characteristics, such as those found in the United States Congress, allow ordinary legislators to exert considerable control over the actions of government and that other characteristics, such as those found in Britain and Japan, render most legislators relatively powerless.

Keywords: legislatures, policy making, delegation, information, legislative decision making

JEL Classification: D81, D82, D72, D73

Suggested Citation

Lupia, Arthur and McCubbins, Mathew D., Who Controls? Information and the Structure of Legislative Decision Making. Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 3, August 1994. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1003030

Arthur Lupia (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-647-7549 (Phone)
734-764-3341 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.umich.edu/~lupia

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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