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Buying Supermajorities


  • Groseclose, Tim
  • Snyder, James M.


Minimal winning coalitions have appeared as a key prediction or as an essential assumption of virtually all formal models of coalition formation, vote buying, and logrolling. Notwithstanding this research, we provide a model showing that supermajority coalitions may be cheaper than minimal winning coalitions. Specifically, if vote buyers move sequentially, and if the losing vote buyer is always granted a last chance to attack the winner's coalition, then minimal winning coalitions will generally not be cheapest, and equilibrium coalitions will generally not be minimal winning. We provide results relating equilibrium coalition size with preferences of the legislators and vote buyers, and we show that minimal winning coalitions should occur in only rare cases. We discuss these results in light of empirical work on coalition size and suggest other possible avenues for testing our model.

Suggested Citation

  • Groseclose, Tim & Snyder, James M., 1996. "Buying Supermajorities," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 90(2), pages 303-315, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:02:p:303-315_20

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