A capture theory of committees Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2018

start page

  • 135

end page

  • 154

volume

  • 177

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0048-5829

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-7101

abstract

  • Why do committees exist? The extant literature emphasizes that they pool dispersed information across members. In this paper, we argue that they may also serve to discourage outside influence or capture by raising its cost. As such, committees may contain members who are uninformed or who add no new information to the collective decision. We show that the optimal committee is larger when outsiders have larger stakes in its decision or contribute lower-quality proposals, or when its members are more corruptible. We also show that keeping committee members anonymous and accountable for their votes helps deter capture.

keywords

  • committee; capture; bribe; threat; disclosure