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Information and Congressional Hearings

Daniel Diermeier and Timothy J. Feddersen
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan., 2000), pp. 51-65
DOI: 10.2307/2669292
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2669292
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Information and Congressional Hearings
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Abstract

Although congressional scholars agree that hearings are an important activity, there is little consensus on their role in the legislative process. The traditional literature on hearings plays down their role as mechanisms of disseminating information because committee members often do not appear persuaded by the information they reveal. We explore the premise that hearings may not be informative to committees but may provide crucial information to the floor. If hearings have some intrinsic informative content and are costly, even extreme committees can transmit useful information to the floor. The possibility of holding hearings creates an incentive for extreme committees to specialize and reveal information simply by the decision whether to hold hearings.

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