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A Rationale for Restrictive Rules

Krehbiel, Keith (1985) A Rationale for Restrictive Rules. Social Science Working Paper, 586. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Congressmen often claim to dislike restrictions on their opportunities to offer amendments to legislation in the Committee of the Whole. Yet restrictive rules of various forms not only are quite common but often are voted into existence explicitly or implicitly. Whenever a modified closed rule from the Rules Committee receives a majority vote, members explicitly accept the restrictions that such rules place on amendments. Whenever a bill is passed under suspension of the rules, the requisite two-thirds vote is an implicit acceptance of restrictions, because the vote has the effect of not only passing the legislation, but passing it unamended. The frequency with which such procedures are used in the House of Representatives suggests that restrictions on the ability to amend are not abhorred after all. Thus the question: why do members of a democratic and decentralized legislature tolerate, indeed choose, restrictive rules? This paper ad dresses the question with a simple theoretical model based on a large class of empirical situations. The central argument is that restrictive rules are effective institutional devices for congressmen to initiate and maintain pareto optimal outcomes in areas of policy where, in the absence of such rules, initiation and maintenance of policies would be difficult.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Additional Information:The comments of Bruce Cain, Rod Kiewiet, Ken Koford, Dick McKelvey, Barry Weingast, and especially Tom Gilligan are gratefully acknowledged. Additional comments are welcome.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:586
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170914-153400400
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81462
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:15 Sep 2017 17:25
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:43

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