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Potential Maximization and Coalition Government Formation

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  • Garratt, Rod
  • Qin, Cheng-Zhong

Abstract

A model of coalition government formation is presented in which inefficient, non-minimal winning coalitions may form in Nash equilibrium. Predictions for five games are presented and tested experimentally. The experimental data support potential maximization as a refinement of Nash equilibrium. In particular, the data support the prediction that non-minimal winning coalitions occur when the distance between policy positions of the parties is small relative to the value of forming the government. These conditions hold in games 1, 3, 4 and 5, where subjects played their unique potential-maximizing strategies 91, 52, 82 and 84 percent of the time, respectively. In the remaining game (Game 2) experimental data support the prediction of a minimal winning coalition. Players A and B played their unique potential-maximizing strategies 84 and 86 percent of the time, respectively, and the predicted minimal-winning government formed 92 percent of the time (all strategy choices for player C conform with potential maximization in Game 2). In Games 1, 2, 4 and 5 over 98 percent of the observed Nash equilibrium outcomes were those predicted by potential maximization. Other solution concepts including iterated elimination of dominated strategies and strong/coalition proof Nash equilibrium are also tested.
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Suggested Citation

  • Garratt, Rod & Qin, Cheng-Zhong, 2000. "Potential Maximization and Coalition Government Formation," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt2gx2v0qx, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt2gx2v0qx
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. J. Keith Murnighan & Alvin E. Roth, 1977. "The Effects of Communication and Information Availability in an Experimental Study of a Three-Person Game," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 23(12), pages 1336-1348, August.
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    5. Slikker, Marco, 2001. "Coalition Formation and Potential Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 436-448, November.
    6. Qin, Cheng-Zhong, 1996. "Endogenous Formation of Cooperation Structures," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 218-226, April.
    7. Slikker, Marco & Dutta, Bhaskar & van den Nouweland, Anne & Tijs, Stef, 2000. "Potential maximizers and network formation," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 55-70, January.
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    10. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey, 1988. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(02), pages 405-422, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amegashie, J. Atsu & Cadsby, C. Bram & Song, Yang, 2007. "Competitive burnout: Theory and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 213-239, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Potential; Maximization; Coalition; Government; Formation;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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