Public Choice

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 119-137

First online:

Committee jurisdiction, congressional behavior and policy outcomes

  • John M. de FigueiredoAffiliated withThe Law School and The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and National Bureau of Economic Research Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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 junior members in safe seats, are most likely to challenge a committee’s jurisdiction; (b) policy proposals may be initiated off the proposer’s ideal point for jurisdictional gains; (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.


Congress Committee jurisdiction Interest groups