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Nominations for Sale


  • Silvia Console-Battilana

    (Stanford University,

  • Kenneth A. Shepsle

    (Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University,


Models of nomination politics in the USA often find ‘gridlock’ in equilibrium because of the supermajority requirement in the Senate for the confirmation of presidential nominees. A blocking coalition often prefers to defeat any nominee. Yet empirically nominations are successful. In the present article we explore the possibility that senators can be induced to vote contrary to their nominal (gridlock-producing) preferences through contributions from the president and/or lobbyists, thus breaking the gridlock and confirming the nominee. We model contributions by the president and lobbyists according to whether payment schedules are conditioned on the entire voting profile, the vote of a senator, or the outcome. We analyze several extensions to our baseline approach, including the possibility that lobbyists may find it more productive to offer inducements to the president in order to affect his proposal behavior, rather than trying to induce senators to vote for or against a given nominee.

Suggested Citation

  • Silvia Console-Battilana & Kenneth A. Shepsle, 2009. "Nominations for Sale," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 21(4), pages 413-449, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:21:y:2009:i:4:p:413-449

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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Dahm & Amihai Glazer, 2012. "How An Agenda Setter Induces Legislators to Adopt Policies They Oppose," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2012-11-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
    2. Dahm, Matthias & Glazer, Amihai, 2015. "A carrot and stick approach to agenda-setting," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 465-480.
    3. Krehbiel, Keith & Meirowitz, Adam & Wiseman, Alan E., 2013. "A Theory of Competitive Partisan Lawmaking," Research Papers 2136, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

    More about this item


    agenda setting; bribing; lobbyists; nominations;


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