A Capture Theory of Committees
37 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2016
Date Written: November 24, 2016
Why do committees exist? The extant literature emphasizes that they pool dispersed information across members. In this paper, we argue that they may also serve to discourage outside influence or capture by raising its cost. As such, committees may contain members who add no new information to the collective decision. We show that the optimal committee is larger when outsiders have higher stakes in its decision, lower quality proposals or more rivals, or when its members are more corruptible. We also show that keeping committee members anonymous and accountable for their votes can help deter capture.
Keywords: Committee, Capture, Bribe, Threat, Disclosure
JEL Classification: D02, D71, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation