Chapter 4: Information and commitment
In the previous chapters we examined the use of temporary legislation during strategic interaction between the legislature and citizens. We now turn to the use of temporary legislation between the legislature and interest groups. While the public can be considered an interest group, the distinction we draw by definition is that citizen behavior is malleable through residual effects like legal expression, while interest group behavior is not. Interest group behavior can certainly reflect normative updates due to an expressive effect, but this chapter focuses on the strategic problem when their behavior is fixed and independent of those effects. The interaction we examine falls under the general heading of asymmetric information. Interest groups or their lobbies possess information that may influence a legislative outcome, and they must decide whether or not to reveal it. This problem has been studied extensively, but the option to legislate temporarily or permanently is a nuance that has received little attention.
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