Nonlegislative Hearings and Policy Change in Congress

Jeffery C. Talbert, Bryan D. Jones, Frank R. Baumgartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theory: A theory of conflict-expansion and issue-redefinition is used to explain jurisdictional changes among congressional committees. Hypotheses: Strict rules regulate the jurisdictions of committees considering legislation, but greater freedom is allowed in nonlegislative hearings. Therefore entrepreneurial committee and subcommittee chairs will use nonlegislative hear- ings to claim future jurisdiction over new issues and to force recalcitrant rival committees to take action they might not otherwise take. Methods: All committee hearings from 1945 to 1986 covering drug abuse, nu- clear power, pesticides, and smoking are analyzed using various statistical tech- niques. Interviews with committee staff supplement the analysis. Results: Both legislative and nonlegislative hearings are shown to be subject to considerable jurisdictional change over time. Nonlegislative hearings are shown to be particularly important in the process of issue-redefinition and in the efforts of legislative entrepreneurs to encroach on established jurisdictions of other committe
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)383
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1995


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonlegislative Hearings and Policy Change in Congress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this