Committees and Rent-Seeking Effort

  • Roger D. Congleton
Part of the Topics in Regulatory Economics and Policy book series (TREP, volume 1)


Committees are widely used by nearly all social organizations as a means of developing and implementing policies that often have clear distributive implications. Applications range from academic committees responsible for conferring minor student awards to corporate, congressional, and party committees responsible for decisions that have substantial effects upon the allocation of national resources. Such a state of affairs must be more than a little puzzling to those familiar with the modern literature on committee deliberations. Committee deliberations fall prey to all the problems of majority rule decision-making: the obvious diseconomies of multi-person decision-making, the possible absence of unique equilibria, the potential for intransitive rankings of alternatives and the implied arbitrariness of decisions noted by Arrow (1951), Black (1958) Buchanan and Tullock (1962), and Usher (1981). These weaknesses would seem to suggest that allocative decisions would be better made by single individuals than by committees.


Effort Level Committee Member Median Voter Cardinal Measure Resource Commitment 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger D. Congleton

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