Institutional Foundations, Committee System and Amateur Legislators in the Governance of the Spanish Congress: An Institutional Comparative Perspective (USA, Argentina, Spain)

  • Gonzalo CaballeroEmail author


Legislative organization matters for policy-making, and institutional rules determine the role of property rights, hierarchies, individual deputies, parliamentary groups, transactions and committees in the industrial organization of Congress. The New Institutional Economics and Transaction Cost Politics have given rise to a relevant research program on legislative organization. This paper analyses the institutional foundations of legislative organization of the Spanish Congress from an institutional and transactional comparative perspective. Electoral rules and Committee systems are institutional determinants of the political property rights of congressmen and the structure of governance of legislative organization. This paper studies the industrial organization of the Spanish Congress, and we compare this case with those of the traditional model of the US Congress and the Argentine Congress. In this respect, new light on the young Spanish Congress is shed.


Political Party Electoral System Plenary Session Veto Player Electoral Rule 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baron DP (2000) Legislative organization with informational committees. Am J Polit Sci 44(3):485–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beniers KJ, Swank OH (2004) On the composition of committees. J Law Econ Org 20(2):353–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Caballero G (2005) Instituciones, federalismo defensor de mercados y Estado de las Autonomías. Un análisis de segunda generación. El Trimestre Económico 286:283–328Google Scholar
  4. Caballero G (2006a) La economía política de la organización industrial del Congreso de los Diputados en España: Derechos de propiedad, transacciones y jerarquías. El Trimestre Económico LXXIII(291):637–666Google Scholar
  5. Caballero G (2006b) The industrial organization of Congress in USA and Spain: a comparative institutional analysis. Revista de Análisis Económico 21(2):105–123Google Scholar
  6. Caballero G (2007) Comisiones, grupos parlamentarios y diputados en la gobernanza del Congreso de los Diputados. Revista de Estudios Políticos 135:67–107Google Scholar
  7. Caballero G (2008) El cambio institucional de la economía del franquismo a la democracia: un análisis histórico institucional. Política y Gobierno XV(2):353–401Google Scholar
  8. Caballero G, Arias XC (2009) The program of transaction cost politics in the map of the new institutionalism. In: Annual meeting of the public choice society, USAGoogle Scholar
  9. Carey JM (2005) Presidential versus parliamentary government. In: Ménard C, Shirley MM (eds) Handbook of New Institutional Economics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 91–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carey JM (2006) Legislative organization. In: Rhodes RAW, Binder SA, Rockman BA (eds) Oxford handbook of political science. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 431–454Google Scholar
  11. Coase RH (1937) The nature of the firm. Economica 4:386–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coase RH (1960) The problem of social cost. J Law Econ 3(1):1–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Coase RH (1999) An interview with Ronald Coase. ISNIE Newslett 2(1):3–10Google Scholar
  14. Cox GW (2000) On the effects of legislatives Rules. Legis Stud Quart 25(2):169–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cox GW, McCubbins MD (1993) Legislative leviathan. University of California Press, Berkeley, CAGoogle Scholar
  16. Cox GW, McCubbins MD (1999) The institutional determinants of economic policy outcomes. In: Annual conference of the ISNIE, Washington, USAGoogle Scholar
  17. Cox GW, McCubbins MD (2005) Setting the agenda. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dixit AK (1996) The making of economic policy: a transaction-cost politics perspective. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  19. Epstein D, O’Halloran S (1999) Delegating powers. A transaction cost politics approach to policy making under separate powers. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Field BN, Hamann K (2009) Democracy and institutional development. Palgrave Macmillan, UKGoogle Scholar
  21. Gallo A, Stegmann JP, Steagall J (2006) The role of political institutions in the resolution of economic crises: the case of Argentina 2001–2005. Oxford Dev Stud 34(2):193–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Guerrero E (2004) El Parlamento, Editorial SíntesisGoogle Scholar
  23. Heywood P (1998) Power diffusion or concentration? In search of the Spanish policy process. West Eur Polit 21(4):103–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones MP, Saiegh S, Spiller PT, Tommasi M (2002) Amateur legislators-professional politicians: the consequences of party-centered electoral rules in a federal system. Am J Polit Sci 46(3):656–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kim J, Rothenberg LS (2008) Foundations of legislative organization and committee Influence. J Theor Polit 20(3):339–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Krehbiel K (1991) Information and legislative organization. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
  27. Krehbiel K (2004) Legislative organization. J Econ Perspect 18(1):113–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Laver M, Schofield N (1998) Multiparty government. The politics of coalition in Europe. The University of Michigan Press, An Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
  29. López Nieto L (2001) Las Cortes Generales. In: Alcántara M, Martínez A (eds) Política y Gobierno en España. Tirant lo Blanch, pp 215–242Google Scholar
  30. Majone G (2001) Nonmajoritarian institutions and the limits of democratic governance: a political transaction-cost approach. J Inst Theor Econ 157:57–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Maltzman F (1997) Competing principals: committees, Parties and the Organization of Congress. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
  32. McCubbins MD (2005) Legislative process and the mirroring principle. In: Ménard C, Shirley MM (eds) Handbook of New Institutional Economics. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 123–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Menard C, Shirley M (2005) Handbook of New Institutional Economics. Springer, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Montero JR (1998) Stablishing the democratic order: electoral behaviour in Spain. West Eur Polit 21(4):53–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Morán LM (1996) Renewal and permanency of the Spanish members of parliament, 1977–1993, WP 1996/81. Instituto Juan March, MadridGoogle Scholar
  36. North DC (1990a) Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  37. North DC (1990b) A transaction cost theory of politics. J Theor Polit 2(4):355–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. North DC (1991) Institutions. J Econ Perspect 5(1):97–112Google Scholar
  39. North DC (1999) In anticipation of the marriage of political and economic theory. In: Alt J, Levi M, Ostrom E (eds) Competition and cooperation. Conversations with nobelists about economics and political science. Russell Sage, New York, pp 314–317Google Scholar
  40. Owens JE (1997) The return of party government in the US house of representatives: central leadership – committee relations in the 104th Congress. Br J Polit Sci 27:247–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Polsby NW (1968) The institutionalization of the U.S. house of representatives. Am Polit Sci Rev 62(1):144–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Polsby NW, Schickler E (2001). Landmarks in the study of Congress since 1945: sketches for an informal history. In: Annual meeting of the APSA, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  43. Sánchez de Dios M (1999) Parliamentary party discipline in Spain. In: Bowler S et al (eds) Party discipline and parliamentary government. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH, pp 141–162Google Scholar
  44. Schofield N (2009) The political economy of democracy and tyranny. Oldenbourg, MunichGoogle Scholar
  45. Schofield N, Sened I (2006) Multiparty democracy: elections and legislative politics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shepsle KA (1978) The giant jigsaw puzzle: democratic committee assignments in the modern house. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  47. Shepsle KA, Weingast BR (1987) The institutional foundations of committee power. Am Polit Sci Rev 81(1):85–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Shepsle KA, Weingast BR (1995) Positive theories of congressional institutions. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MIGoogle Scholar
  49. Spiller PT, Tommasi M (2003) The institutional foundations of public policy: a transactions approach with applications to Argentina. J Law Econ Org 19(2):281–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Spiller PT, Tommasi M (2007) The institutional foundations of public policy in Argentina. A transaction cost approach. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  51. Toboso F, Scorsone E (2010) How much power to tax do regional governments enjoy in Spain since the 1996 and 2001 reforms? Reg Fed Stud 20(2):157–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tsebelis G (1995) Decision making in political system: veto players in presidentialism, parliamentarism, multicameralism and multipartism. Br J Polit Sci 25:289–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Uhr J (2006) Bicameralism. In: Rhodes RAW, Binder SA, Rockman BA (eds) Oxford handbook of political science. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 475–494Google Scholar
  54. Uriarte E (2000) La política como vocación y como profesión: análisis de las motivaciones y de la carrera política de los diputados españoles. Revista Española de Ciencia Política 3:97–124Google Scholar
  55. Uslaner EM, Zittel T (2006) Comparative legislative behavior. In: Rhodes RAW, Binder SA, Rockman BA (eds) Oxford handbook of political science. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 455–473Google Scholar
  56. Weingast BR, Marshall WJ (1988) The industrial organization of congress; or, why legislatures, like firms, are not organized as markets. J Polit Econ 96:132–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Williamson OE (1975) Markets and hierarchies. The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  58. Williamson OE (1985) The economics institutions of capitalism: firms, markets, relational contracting. The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  59. Williamson OE (2000) The New Institutional Economics: taking stock, looking ahead. J Econ Lit 38:595–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsUniversity of VigoVigoSpain

Personalised recommendations