Document Type


Publication Date



congressional committees, Congress, legislatures, interest groups


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 young members in safe districts are most likely to challenge a committee’s jurisdiction; b) policy proposals may be initiated off the proposer’s ideal point in order to obtain jurisdiction; 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.


This is a pre-print of the article that appears in Public Choice.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

United States. Congress--Committees, Pressure groups, Legislative bodies, United States. Congress