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Reforming Legislatures: Is one House better than two?

Author

Listed:
  • Giovanni Facchini
  • Cecilia Testa

Abstract

During the last decade unicameral proposals have been put forward in fourteen US states. In this paper we propose a theoretical framework casting some lights on the drawbacks of bicameral state legislatures and on the effects of the proposed constitutional reforms. In a setting where lawmakers interact with a lobby through a bargaining process and with voters by means of elections, we show that when time constraints are binding, bicameralism might lead to a decline in the legislator's bargaining power vis-à-vis the lobby and to a reduction in his electoral accountability. On the other hand, when the time constraint is not binding, bicameralism might improve electoral accountability. Hence, arguments suggesting that bicameralism is a panacea against the abuse of power by elected legislators should be taken with due caution and the proposed unicameral reforms in US states may indeed reduce corruption levels among elected representatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2009. "Reforming Legislatures: Is one House better than two?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2659, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2659
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2659.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Facchini & Cecilia Testa, 2016. "Corruption and bicameral reforms," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 387-411, August.
    2. Michael Funke & Marc Gronwald, 2009. "A Convex Hull Approach to Counterfactual Analysis of Trade Openness and Growth," Quantitative Macroeconomics Working Papers 20906, Hamburg University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bicameralism; corruption; lobbying; bargaining; elections;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • H19 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Other

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