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
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: Suggested Citation