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Decision costs in legislative bargaining: an experimental analysis

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  • Luis Miller
  • Christoph Vanberg

Abstract

We conduct an experiment to assess the effects of different decision rules on the costs of decision making in a multilateral bargaining situation. Specifically, we compare the amount of costly delay observed in an experimental bargaining game under majority and unanimity rule. Our main finding is that individual subjects are more likely to reject offers under unanimity rule. This higher rejection rate, as well as the requirement that all subjects agree, leads to more costly delay. This result provides empirical support for a classic argument in favor of less-than-unanimity decision rules put forth by Buchanan and Tullock (The calculus of consent: logical foundations of constitutional democracy, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1962 ). Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Miller & Christoph Vanberg, 2013. "Decision costs in legislative bargaining: an experimental analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 373-394, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:155:y:2013:i:3:p:373-394
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-011-9866-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. John Kagel & Hankyoung Sung & Eyal Winter, 2010. "Veto power in committees: an experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 167-188, June.
    3. Baron, David P. & Ferejohn, John A., 1989. "Bargaining in Legislatures," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 1181-1206, December.
    4. Guillaume Fréchette & John H. Kagel & Massimo Morelli, 2005. "Behavioral Identification in Coalitional Bargaining: An Experimental Analysis of Demand Bargaining and Alternating Offers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1893-1937, November.
    5. Frã‰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(2), pages 221-232, May.
    6. Daniel Diermeier & Rebecca Morton, 2005. "Experiments in Majoritarian Bargaining," Studies in Choice and Welfare, in: David Austen-Smith & John Duggan (ed.), Social Choice and Strategic Decisions, pages 201-226, Springer.
    7. Diermeier, Daniel & Gailmard, Sean, 2006. "Self-Interest, Inequality, and Entitlement in Majoritarian Decision-Making," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(4), pages 327-350, October.
    8. Frechette, Guillaume & Kagel, John H. & Morelli, Massimo, 2005. "Nominal bargaining power, selection protocol, and discounting in legislative bargaining," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1497-1517, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Collective decision-making; Majority rule; Unanimity; Legislative bargaining; Experimental economics; C78; C92; D71; D72;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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