Publication Date



Committees are the defining characteristic of the modern legislature. While the centrality and study of party politics goes back further than committee politics, the focus on committee systems emerged over the course of the twentieth century, and legislatures could not function as we understand them without this mechanism. The United States Congressional committee system is the most studied system, yet virtually every country utilizes a committee system of some sort within its legislature. Despite their ubiquity in and centrality to the operations of legislatures, committees remain insufficiently studied, especially outside of the United States. The existing body of work tends to look at an individual committee system or feature. This paper attempts to funnel the existing body of work through a design lens in order to better understand what a committee system is, what it does, and how it impacts other structures and actors.