Public Choice

, Volume 108, Issue 3–4, pp 313–330 | Cite as

Loyal political cartels and committee assignments in Congress: Evidence from the Congressional Black Caucus

  • Franklin G. MixonJr.
  • Rand W. Ressler


This study presents a political model whichsuggests that monopoly legislators form cartel-likeorganizations (referred to as ``memberships'') in aneffort to extract greater benefits in the politicalprocess. Based on a model by Coker and Crain (1994)that provides theoretical and statistical argumentsfor congressional committees as loyalty-generatinginstitutions, the instant research examines committeeplacement of ``members'' of the Congressional BlackCaucus (CBC) in the U.S. House by Democrat leaders.Voting records indicate that the CBC is uniform in itsvoting patterns, indicating cartel-like behavior.Because of this, the Democratic leadership in theHouse chooses to place CBC members on importantcommittees in order to support their policy agenda.The general finding of this study is that ``blackrepresentation'' may be greater than simply theproportion of seats held by black Representatives."Legislators differ substantially by virtue of their committeeassignments. Committees in Congress, and particularly in theHouse of Representatives, possess disproportionate power over thepolicy areas in their respective jurisdictions, have the rightto hold hearings, and recommend budget allocations for ...bureaus ..." (Grier and Munger, 1991: 25)


Public Finance Great Benefit General Finding Budget Allocation Political Cartel 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franklin G. MixonJr.
    • 1
  • Rand W. Ressler
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsThe University of Southern MississippiHattiesburg
  2. 2.Department of Economics and FinanceUniversity of LouisianaLafayetteU.S.A

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