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Bargaining foundations of the median voter theorem

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  • Cho, Seok-ju
  • Duggan, John

Abstract

We give a game-theoretic foundation for the median voter theorem in a one-dimensional bargaining model based on Baron and Ferejohn's [D. Baron, J. Ferejohn, Bargaining in legislatures, Amer. Polit. Sci. Rev. 83 (1989) 1181-1206] model of distributive politics. We prove that as the agents become arbitrarily patient, the set of proposals that can be passed in any pure strategy, subgame perfect equilibrium collapses to the median voter's ideal point. While we leave the possibility of some delay, we prove that the agents' equilibrium continuation payoffs converge to the utility from the median, so that delay, if it occurs, is inconsequential. We do not impose stationarity or any other refinements. Our result counters intuition based on the folk theorem for repeated games, and it contrasts with the known result for the distributive bargaining model that as agents become patient, any division of the dollar can be supported as a subgame perfect equilibrium outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Cho, Seok-ju & Duggan, John, 2009. "Bargaining foundations of the median voter theorem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 851-868, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:2:p:851-868
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    Cited by:

    1. Seok-ju Cho & John Duggan, 2015. "A folk theorem for the one-dimensional spatial bargaining model," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 44(4), pages 933-948, November.
    2. Levy, Gilat & Razin, Ronny, 2013. "Dynamic legislative decision making when interest groups control the agenda," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1862-1890.
    3. Herings, P. Jean-Jacques & Meshalkin, Andrey & Predtetchinski, Arkadi, 2018. "Subgame perfect equilibria in majoritarian bargaining," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 101-112.
    4. Daniel Cardona & Arnold Polanski, 2013. "Voting rules and efficiency in one-dimensional bargaining games with endogenous protocol," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(2), pages 217-240, July.
    5. Le Breton, Michel & Thomas, Alban & Zaporozhets, Vera, 2012. "Bargaining in River Basin Committees: Rules Versus Discretion," TSE Working Papers 12-324, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    6. Christopher Tyson, 2010. "Dominance solvability of dynamic bargaining games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 43(3), pages 457-477, June.
    7. Herings, P. Jean-Jacques & Predtetchinski, Arkadi, 2010. "One-dimensional bargaining with Markov recognition probabilities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(1), pages 189-215, January.
    8. Duggan, John & Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2012. "Dynamic legislative policy making," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1653-1688.
    9. Maaser, Nicola & Napel, Stefan, 2012. "A note on the direct democracy deficit in two-tier voting," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 174-180.
    10. Cardona, Daniel & Ponsati, Clara, 2011. "Uniqueness of stationary equilibria in bargaining one-dimensional policies under (super) majority rules," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 65-75, September.
    11. Jan Zapal, 2014. "Simple Markovian Equilibria in Dynamic Spatial Legislative Bargaining," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp515, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.

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