June, 2013

Two-tiered political entrepreneurship and the congressional committee system

  • Adam Martin

    Assistant Professor of Economics, Texas Tech University
  • Diana Thomas

    Associate Professor of Economics, Creighton University
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Theories of political entrepreneurship usually focus on the construction of coalitions necessary to change policy. We argue that political entrepreneurs who are unable to secure favored policies may redirect their efforts to a “higher tier,” attempting to change the rules of the game to enable the exploitation of future political profit opportunities. We present a taxonomy of three levels of political rules—pre-constitutional, constitutional, and post-constitutional—and identify the salient characteristics of institutional entrepreneurship that targets rules at each level. The development of the congressional committee system is explored as a case study in entrepreneurship over post-constitutional rules.

Theories of political entrepreneurship usually focus on the construction of coalitions necessary to change policy. We argue that political entrepreneurs who are unable to secure favored policies may redirect their efforts to a “higher tier,” attempting to change the rules of the game to enable the exploitation of future political profit opportunities. We present a taxonomy of three levels of political rules—pre-constitutional, constitutional, and post-constitutional—and identify the salient characteristics of institutional entrepreneurship that targets rules at each level. The development of the congressional committee system is explored as a case study in entrepreneurship over post-constitutional rules.