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American Journal of Political Science






Theory: Legislative committees are extensive and integral to the structure and policy-making functions of Congress and state legislatures. Scant research exists on current roles of committees of city councils.

Hypotheses: We hypothesize that city council committee systems are less common and not as vital to policy-making than is true of other legislative bodies. Contrary to much urban research, we further expect that city government structure, not the political environment, shapes development of committee systems and their policy roles.

Methods: Logistic and OLS regression are the methods used to analyze the structure of city council committee systems. Differences in policy outputs are analyzed with t-tests and OLS regression. Data are from a 1992-93 mail survey of 160 large United States cities, and from Census Bureau reports on city government finances.

Results: Committees are widely used in large cities and their use is directly due to structural aspects of city government, particularly size of city council. Broad policy-making roles are found to be uncommon, but a substantial part of city legislative business is assigned to committees. Legislative committees have a small impact on policy outputs.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.