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How An Agenda Setter Induces Legislators to Adopt Policies They Oppose

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Author Info

  • Matthias Dahm

    ()
    (Department d'Economia and CREIP, Universitat Rovira i Virgili)

  • Amihai Glazer

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)

Abstract

This paper addresses the puzzle of why redistributive legislation, which benefits a small minority, may pass with overwhelming majorities. It models a legislature in which the same agenda setter serves for two periods, showing how he can exploit a legislature (completely) in the first period by promising future benefits to legislators who support him. In equilibrium, a large majority of legislators vote for the first-period proposal because they thereby maintain the chance of belonging to the minimum winning coalition in the future. Legislators may therefore approve policies by large majorities, or even unanimously, that benefit few, or even none, of them. The results are robust: some institutional arrangements, such as super-majority rules or sequential voting, limit but do not eliminate the agenda setter's power to exploit the legislature; other institutions such as secret voting do not limit his power.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 111211.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:111211

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Keywords: Agenda setting; Legislation; Voting;

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  1. De Figueiredo, John M. & Silverman, Brian S., 2002. "Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying," Working papers 4245-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  8. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1990. " The Power of the Proposal Maker in a Model of Endogenous Agenda Formation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-20, January.
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  22. repec:oxf:wpaper:039 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Glazer, Amihai & McMillan, Henry, 1992. " Amend the Old or Address the New: Broad-Based Legislation When Proposing Policies Is Costly," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 43-58, July.
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  1. Weekly Roundup 193: A Curated Linkfest For The Smartest People On The Web!
    by Miguel in Simoleon Sense on 2012-11-21 18:53:28

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