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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. Fr 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(02), pages 221-232, May.
    2. 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(02), pages 407-429, May.
    3. Jackson, Matthew O. & Moselle, Boaz, 2002. "Coalition and Party Formation in a Legislative Voting Game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 49-87, March.
    4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:60-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:jesaex:v:3:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40881-017-0038-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Miller, Luis & Montero, Maria & Vanberg, Christoph, 2018. "Legislative bargaining with heterogeneous disagreement values: Theory and experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 60-92.
    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. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    6. Agranov, Marina & Fr├ęchette, Guillaume & Palfrey, Thomas & Vespa, Emanuel, 2016. "Static and dynamic underinvestment: An experimental investigation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 125-141.
    7. Vespa, Emanuel I., 2016. "Malapportionment and multilateral bargaining: An experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 64-74.

    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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