Explaining the Strength of Legislative Committees: A Comparative Analysis
By what means can legislative committees exercise influence on policy outputs? How and why do committees in different countries differ in their abilities to do so? This dissertation argues that legislative committee power is a multidimensional concept. Committee procedures can be distinguished into three analytic dimensions: 1) committees' positive agenda power, their power to ensure the placement of legislative versions preferred by them on the floor; 2) committees' negative agenda power, their power to delay or block the progress of legislation; and 3) committees' information capacity, institutional incentives granted to them to gather and transmit information. These distinct dimensions benefit different legislative actors. Therefore, they reflect different features of a political system, and may not be consistently strong or week.
Based on an original cross-national data set, the dissertation shows that committee procedures cluster empirically in these three distinct dimensions. Furthermore, the dissertation also demonstrates how legislators' electoral incentives, the composition of multiparty governments, preexisting authoritarian incumbents' uncertainty and bargaining power, and the changes in legislative memberships affect different dimensions of committee power.
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