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Sophistication, Myopia, and the Theory of Legislatures: An Experimental Study

Krehbiel, Keith (1984) Sophistication, Myopia, and the Theory of Legislatures: An Experimental Study. Social Science Working Paper, 551. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Legislatures typically make decisions in stages: for example, first by subsets of members (in committees) and then by the full membership (on the floor). But different theories of two-stage decision-making employ different assumptions about the degree of foresight committee members exercise during the first stage. This paper reviews the relevant theories and reports on several experiments that test whether committees acting in a larger legislature make decisions consistent with the hypotheses of sophisticated or myopic behavior. Under diverse conditions--including open and closed rules, and homogeneous and heterogeneous preferences—the predictions of sophisticated behavior are superior not only to those of myopic behavior, but also to several other competing hypotheses. Implications of the findings for future theoretical developments are discussed, as are reservations regarding generalizing about real-world legislatures on the basis of laboratory observations.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:The author gratefully acknowledges the encouragement and support of Charles Plott, the comments of Bruce Cain, Richard Fenno and Richard McKelvey, and the assistance of Jeff Banks during the experiments.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:551
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170918-150426158
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81543
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:19 Sep 2017 16:39
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:44

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