The role of oversight committees in closed rule legislation

In this article, Professor Christophe Crombez (Stanford University) and Wim Van Gestel (University of Leuven)  formulate a game-theoretical model of closed rule legislation in the presence of informational asymmetries. In the model, an agenda setter with private information proposes a policy to a legislature. The legislature appoints an oversight committee to monitor the agenda setter. Crombez and Van Gestel study the rationale for this appointment, and analyze the equilibrium oversight committee member choices for the legislators. They conclude that it is optimal for the legislators to appoint oversight committee members who are as far from them as is the agenda setter, but in the opposite direction, rather than do the monitoring themselves. The appointment of such oversight committee members represents a credible means for the legislators to commit to reject proposals that they only marginally prefer to the status quo.