With an emphasis on the U.S. Congress, this essay addresses political economy approaches to the study of legislative organization. Simple models provide a foundation for more sophisticated studies of one of two problems: how coalitions of intense minorities pass policies that reflect gains from trade (efficiency in distributive policies) and how the legislature obtains gains from specialization (efficiency in information acquisition and dissemination). The recurring impediment to solutions to these problems is that legislatures are self-organizing and, therefore, have difficulty in committing to potentially effective institutional solutions.
"Legislative Organization ." Journal of Economic Perspectives,