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  • Studies in American Political Development, Volume 2
  • April 1987, pp. 236-299

Interests, Institutions, and Positive Theory: The Politics of the NLRB

  • Terry M. Moe (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 1987

The claim that institutions “matter” is a subject of lively debate in the study of politics today. It is also something of a nonissue that is not really being debated at all. The reason it can be both at once is that the claim is loaded with theoretical baggage. If it is taken to mean that the actions of politicians or bureaucrats are in fundamental respects autonomous of social interests, the statement can easily prove controversial. If it is taken to mean that institutional context shapes the decisions of political actors, or that the relation between social interests and political outcomes varies with the institutional setting, then there is not much to debate; for there has long been a virtual consensus among students of politics that institutions do matter in these general respects.

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Theda Skocpol , “Bringing the State Back In: Strategies of Analysis in Current Research,” in Peter B. Evans , Dietrich Rueschemeyer , and Theda Skocpol , Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985)

James G. March and Johan P. Olsen , “The New Institutionalism: Organizational Factors in Political Life,” American Political Science Review 78 (091984): 734–49

George J. Stigler , “The Theory of Economic Regulation,” Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science 2 (011971): 321

Sam Peltzman , “Toward a More General Theory of Regulation,” Journal of Law and Economics 19 (1976): 211–40

Gary Becker , “A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 98 (1983): 371400

Seymour Scher , “Congressional Committee Members as Independent Agency Over-seers,” American Political Science Review 54 (1986): 911–20

Terry M. Moe , “Control and Feedback in Economic Regulation: The Case of the NLRB,” American Political Science Review 79 (1985): 10941116

Charles D. Delorme , R. C. Hill , and Norman J. Wood , “The Determinants of Voting by the National Labor Relations Board on Unfair Labor Practice Cases: 1955–1975,” Public Choice 37 (1981): 207–18

William N. Cooke and Frederick H. Gautschi III, “Political Bias in NLRB Unfair Labor Practice Decisions,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 35 (1982): 539–49

Sam Peltzman , “Constituency Interest and Congressional Voting,” Journal of Law and Economics 27 (1984): 181210

Kenneth A. Shepsle , “Institutional Arrangements and Equilibrium in Multidimensional Voting Models,” American Journal of Political Science 23 (1979): 2760

William H. Riker , “Implications from the Disequilibrium of Majority Rule for the Study of Institutions,” American Political Science Review 74 (1980): 432–47

Kenneth A. Shepsle and Barry R. Weingast , “Structure-Induced Equilibrium and Legislative Choice,” Public Choice 37 (1981): 503–19

Barry R. Weingast and Mark J. Moran , “Bureaucratic Discretion or Congressional Control? Regulatory Policymaking by the Federal Trade Commission,“Journal of Political Economy 91 (1983): 765800

Barry R. Weingast , “The Congressional-Bureaucratic System: A Principal-Agent Perspective with Applications to the SEC,” Public Choke 44 (1984): 147–92

Richard Barke and William Riker , “A Political Theory of Regulation with Some Observations on Railway Abandonments,” Public Choice 39 (1982): 73106

Mathew D. McCubbins and Thomas Schwartz , “Congressional Oversight Overlooked: Police Patrols versus Fire Alarms,” American Journal of Political Science 28 (1984): 165–79

Mathew D. McCubbins , “The Legislative Design of Regulatory Structure,” American Journal of Political Science 29 (1985): 721–48

Morris P. Fiorina , “Legislative Choice of Regulatory Forms: Legal Process or Administrative Process?Public Choice 39 (1982): 3366

Ronald Coase , “The Nature of the Firm,” Economica 4 (1937): 386405

James B. Kau and Paul H. Rubin , “Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting,” Journal of Law and Economics 22 (1979): 365–85

Terry M. Moe , “Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy: An Assessment of the Positive Theory of ‘Congressional Dominance’,” Legislative Studies Quarterly 12 (1987):

Weingast, “A Rational Choice Perspective on Congressional Norms,” American Journal of Political Science 23 (1979): 245–62

R. Harrison Wagner , “The Theory of Games and the Problem of International Cooperation,” American Political Science Review 77 (1983): 330–46

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Studies in American Political Development
  • ISSN: 0898-588X
  • EISSN: 1469-8692
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