Sunsets and Federal Lawmaking: Evidence from the 110th Congress

16 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2014 Last revised: 20 May 2015

See all articles by Frank Fagan

Frank Fagan

EDHEC Business School

Firat Bilgel

MEF University

Date Written: November 11, 2014

Abstract

We test the hypothesis that the choice to include a sunset provision increases the likelihood that a bill becomes law. We develop a model where the legislator’s knowledge of the increase in passage probability from including a sunset provision influences the legislator’s choice to do so. Because legislators may either include a sunset provision to increase passage probability, or observe low passage probability and respond with a sunset provision, the choice to include a sunset provision is endogenous. Consequently, the causal effect of temporary enactment is identified by using the legislator’s number of offspring as a source of exogenous variation in the choice to include a sunset provision. Employing recursive bivariate probit, we find that the average causal effect of including a sunset provision is sixty percent. We also find that the average causal effect of including sunset provisions in bills that already include them is about twenty percent.

Keywords: Timing rules, sunset legislation, passage probability, instrumental variables, bivariate probit

Suggested Citation

Fagan, Frank and Bilgel, Firat, Sunsets and Federal Lawmaking: Evidence from the 110th Congress (November 11, 2014). International Review of Law and Economics, Vol. 41, p. 1, March 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2517935

Frank Fagan (Contact Author)

EDHEC Business School ( email )

58 rue du Port
Lille, 59046
France

Firat Bilgel

MEF University ( email )

Ayazağa Cad. No.4 34396
Maslak - Sariyer
Istanbul
Turkey

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