Public Choice

, Volume 154, Issue 1–2, pp 119–137 | Cite as

Committee jurisdiction, congressional behavior and policy outcomes



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 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Law School and The Fuqua School of BusinessDuke University and National Bureau of Economic ResearchDurhamUSA

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