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Reciprocity and resistance to comprehensive reform

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  • Urs Fischbacher

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  • Simeon Schudy

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Abstract

Comprehensive reforms often fail, despite being beneficial to society. Politicians may block comprehensive reforms in an attempt to form vote trading coalitions in which they benefit from a piecemeal reform at the expense of others. Because formal commitment devices for vote trading are frequently missing, trust and reciprocity among legislators can play an important role for vote trading. We investigate in a laboratory experiment whether legislators will impede comprehensive reforms in an attempt to form vote trading coalitions even if formal commitment devices for vote trading after reform failure are missing. We find that open ballots allow for vote trading without commitment, based on trust and reciprocity. In turn, legislators frequently reject efficient comprehensive reforms in such institutions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Urs Fischbacher & Simeon Schudy, 2014. "Reciprocity and resistance to comprehensive reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 411-428, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:160:y:2014:i:3:p:411-428
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-013-0097-3
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    Cited by:

    1. Casella, Alessandra & Palfrey, Thomas R, 2015. "Trading Votes for Votes. A Decentralized Matching Algorithm," CEPR Discussion Papers 10908, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:147:y:2018:i:c:p:95-114 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vote trading; Comprehensive reform; Committee voting; Experiment; C92; D70; P16;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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