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A theory of gridlock: Strategic behavior in legislative deliberations

  • Evan Osborne
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    This paper studies compromise and inflexibility in political negotiations. It provides the first analysis of gridlock, a result in which politicians fail to agree on an ideal compromise but which most voters find preferable to the status quo. A multistage game is developed in which contending political blocs choose from hardline or compromise strategies. The outcomes—compromise, gridlock, or one party's ideal legislation—are a function of the incentives of political actors to cooperate or fight. The model illustrates problems in political markets that may occur when consumers are poorly informed. Copyright International Atlantic Economic Society 1998

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/BF02299342
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    Article provided by International Atlantic Economic Society in its journal Atlantic Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 26 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 238-251

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:atlecj:v:26:y:1998:i:3:p:238-251
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    1. Rothstein, Paul, 1991. "Representative Voter Theorems," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 72(2-3), pages 193-212, December.
    2. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
    3. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1979. "Bureaucrats Versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-587.
    4. Ingemar Hansson & Charles Stuart, 1984. "Voting competitions with interested politicians: Platforms do not converge to the preferences of the median voter," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 431-441, January.
    5. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1991. "The Technology of Conflict as an Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 130-34, May.
    6. Andrew Caplin & Barry Nalebuff, 1990. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 938, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    7. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
    8. Thomas R. Palfrey, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 139-156.
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