Dissertation abstract: Essays on veto bargaining games
This dissertation experimentally analyzes the outcomes of multilateral legislative bargaining games in the presence of a veto player. The first essay examines veto power—the right of an agent to unilaterally block decisions but without the ability to unilaterally secure his/her preferred outcome. Using Winter’s (1996) theoretical framework, I consider two cases: urgent committees where the total amount of money to be distributed shrinks by 50% if proposals do not pass and non-urgent committees where the total amount of money shrinks by 5% if proposals do not pass. Committees with a veto player take longer to reach decisions (are less efficient) than without a veto player and veto players proposals generate less consensus then non-veto players proposals, outcomes on which the theory is silent. In addition, veto power in conjunction with proposer power generates excessive power for the veto player. This suggests that limiting veto players’ proposer rights (e.g., limiting their ability to chair committees) would go a long way to curbing their power, a major concern in committees in which one or more players has veto power. Finally, non-veto players show substantially more willingness to compromise than veto players, with players in the control game somewhere in between. I relate the results to the theoretical literature on the impact of veto power as well as concerns about the impact of veto power in real-life committees. The second essay discusses in detail the voting patterns in the veto and control games reported in the first essay. The empirical cumulative density functions of shares veto players accepted first degree stochastically dominates that of shares for the controls and the empirical cdfs of shares the controls accepted first degree stochastically dominate that of shares for non-veto players. Random effect probits support this conclusion as well. In addition, regressions imply favorable treatment of voting and proposing between non-veto players which, however, does not result in larger shares in the end. Coalition partners consistently demand more than the stationary subgame perfect Nash equilibrium share except for veto players in non-urgent committees. Copyright Economic Science Association 2007
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