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Coalition Formation in a Legislative Voting Game


  • Nels Christiansen
  • Sotiris Georganas
  • John H. Kagel


We experimentally investigate the Jackson and Moselle (2002) model where legislators bargain over policy proposals and the allocation of private goods. Key comparative static predictions of the model hold with the introduction of private goods, including "strange bedfellow" coalitions. Private goods help to secure legislative compromise and increase the likelihood of proposals passing, an outcome not predicted by the theory but a staple of the applied political economy literature. Coalition formation is better characterized by an "efficient equal split" between coalition partners than the subgame perfect equilibrium prediction, which has implications for stable political party formation.

Suggested Citation

  • Nels Christiansen & Sotiris Georganas & John H. Kagel, 2014. "Coalition Formation in a Legislative Voting Game," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 182-204, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:6:y:2014:i:1:p:182-204
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.6.1.182

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Volden, Craig & Wiseman, Alan E., 2007. "Bargaining in Legislatures over Particularistic and Collective Goods," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 79-92, February.
    2. Maria Montero, 2007. "Inequity Aversion May Increase Inequity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 192-204, March.
    3. Frã‰Chette, Guillaume R. & Kagel, John H. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2003. "Bargaining in Legislatures: An Experimental Investigation of Open versus Closed Amendment Rules," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 221-232, May.
    4. Battaglini, Marco & Nunnari, Salvatore & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2012. "Legislative Bargaining and the Dynamics of Public Investment," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-429, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vespa, Emanuel I., 2016. "Malapportionment and multilateral bargaining: An experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 64-74.
    2. Agranov, Marina & Fréchette, Guillaume & Palfrey, Thomas & Vespa, Emanuel, 2016. "Static and dynamic underinvestment: An experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 125-141.
    3. Nels Christiansen & John H. Kagel, 2019. "Reference point effects in legislative bargaining: experimental evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(3), pages 735-752, September.
    4. Christiansen, Nels, 2015. "Greasing the wheels: Pork and public goods contributions in a legislative bargaining experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 64-79.
    5. Guillaume R. Fréchette & Emanuel Vespa, 2017. "The determinants of voting in multilateral bargaining games," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 3(1), pages 26-43, July.
    6. Lata Gangadharan & Charles N. Noussair & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2019. "Introduction to the special issue in honor of Professor Charles R. Plott," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(3), pages 577-584, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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