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Group size and decision rules in legislative bargaining


  • Miller Moya, Luis Miguel
  • Vanberg, Christoph


We conduct experiments to investigate the effects of different majority requirements on bargaining outcomes in small and large groups. In particular, we use a Baron-Ferejohn protocol and investigate the effects of decision rules on delay (number of bargaining rounds needed to reach agreement) and measures of "fairness" (inclusiveness of coalitions, equality of the distribution within a coalition). We find that larger groups and unanimity rule are associated with significantly larger decision making costs in the sense that first round proposals more often fail, leading to more costly delay. The higher rate of failure under unanimity rule and in large groups is a combination of three facts: (1) in these conditions, a larger number of individuals must agree, (2) an important fraction of individuals reject offers below the equal share, and (3) proposers demand more (relative to the equal share) in large groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Miller Moya, Luis Miguel & Vanberg, Christoph, 2014. "Group size and decision rules in legislative bargaining," DFAEII Working Papers DFAE-II;2014-01, University of the Basque Country - Department of Foundations of Economic Analysis II.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehu:dfaeii:11746

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    8. Luis Miller & Christoph Vanberg, 2013. "Decision costs in legislative bargaining: an experimental analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 373-394, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:60-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nunnari, Salvatore & Zapal, Jan, 2016. "Gambler's fallacy and imperfect best response in legislative bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 275-294.
    3. repec:spr:jesaex:v:3:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40881-017-0038-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Miller, Luis & Montero, Maria & Vanberg, Christoph, 2018. "Legislative bargaining with heterogeneous disagreement values: Theory and experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 60-92.
    5. repec:kap:pubcho:v:173:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0470-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Maaser, Nicola & Traub, Stefan & Paetzel, Fabian, 2017. "Power illusion in coalitional bargaining: An experimental analysis," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168155, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item


    majority rule; unanimity rule; legislative bargaining;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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