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Why Roll Calls? A Model of Position-Taking in Legislative Voting and Elections

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  • James M. Snyder

Abstract

We develop a rationale for roll call voting and position-taking in legislatures using a formal model of legislative vote buying and elections. In our model, citizens and an interest group are motivated by policy, while legislators are motivated by holding office. The group may attempt to buy legislators' votes by offering contracts based on their votes. If citizens cannot condition their reelection votes on legislators' roll calls, then in equilibrium the group will buy its ideal policy and most legislators are voted out of office. This is because the group's contract can promise a nonnegligible payment to each legislator only in the event that her vote is pivotal, but also force no legislator to be pivotal. If citizens can condition their votes on legislators' roll calls, then policies are more moderate and more legislators are reelected. Thus an endogenous preference for position-taking arises in a legislature with public roll calls, and both legislators and citizens will prefer such "open" proceedings ex ante. We explore extensions of the basic model and find some circumstances where the incentives to have open proceedings are weaker. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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  • James M. Snyder, 2005. "Why Roll Calls? A Model of Position-Taking in Legislative Voting and Elections," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 153-178, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:21:y:2005:i:1:p:153-178
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewi007
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronen Gradwohl, 2018. "Voting in the limelight," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 66(1), pages 65-103, July.
    2. Daniel Seidmann, 2011. "A theory of voting patterns and performance in private and public committees," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 36(1), pages 49-74, January.
    3. Krehbiel, Keith & Meirowitz, Adam & Wiseman, Alan E., 2013. "A Theory of Competitive Partisan Lawmaking," Research Papers 2136, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7723 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Royce Carroll & Monika Nalepa, 2020. "The personal vote and party cohesion: Modeling the effects of electoral rules on intraparty politics," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 32(1), pages 36-69, January.
    6. University of Montreal & Alessandro Riboni, 2009. "Ideology and Endogenous Constitutions," 2009 Meeting Papers 988, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Alessandro Riboni, 2013. "Ideology and endogenous constitutions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 52(3), pages 885-913, April.
    8. Indridi Indridason, 2011. "Executive veto power and credit claiming," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 375-394, March.
    9. Justin Fox, 2007. "Government transparency and policymaking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 23-44, April.

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