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First Things First? The Agenda Formation Problem for Multi-issue Committees

  • Francesca Flamini

It is often argued that multi-issue committees should discuss issues simultaneously to avoid ineciency. However, in practice, parties can be constrained to discuss issues sequentially and in this case, existing game-theoretical models give inconclusive results: either parties have dierent preferences over agendas or they are indierent. We show that when there is an important issue, parties have the same preferences over agendas, in particular they prefer to discuss the most important issue Þrst. Moreover, when an issue is dicult/urgent (in the sense that the rejection of a proposal on this issue implies a game breakdown with a positive probability) parties prefer to postpone the negotiations over the dicult/urgent issue. We highlight several incentives that players need to take into account in forming their preferences over agendas. Since theseareoften in conßict, the existence of a Pareto optimal agenda is of particular interest.

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Paper provided by Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow in its series Working Papers with number 2001_19.

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Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2001_19
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  1. Muthoo Abhinay, 1995. "Bargaining in a Long-Term Relationship with Endogenous Termination," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 590-598, August.
  2. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475.
  3. Lutz-Alexander Busch & Ignatius Horstmann, 1999. "Endogenous Incomplete Contracts: A Bargaining Approach," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 956-975, August.
  4. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  5. Inderst, Roman, 1998. "Multi-Issue Bargaining with Endogenous Agenda," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 98-35, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  6. In, Younghwan & Serrano, Roberto, 2004. "Agenda restrictions in multi-issue bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 385-399, March.
  7. Busch, Lutz-Alexander & Horstmann, Ignatius J, 1997. "Bargaining Frictions, Bargaining Procedures and Implied Costs in Multiple-Issue Bargaining," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(256), pages 669-80, November.
  8. Weinberger, Catherine J., 2000. "Selective Acceptance and Inefficiency in a Two-Issue Complete Information Bargaining Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 262-293, May.
  9. In, Younghwan & Serrano, Roberto, 2003. "Agenda restrictions in multi-issue bargaining (II): unrestricted agendas," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 325-331, June.
  10. Fershtman, Chaim, 1990. "The importance of the agenda in bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 224-238, September.
  11. Ray, Debraj & Vohra, Rajiv, 1997. "Equilibrium Binding Agreements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 30-78, March.
  12. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Bargaining and Markets," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000515, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Francesca Flamini, . "A Note on Agenda Restrictions in Multi-Issue Bargaining," Working Papers 2003_15, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  14. Lang, Kevin & Rosenthal, Robert W, 2001. "Bargaining Piecemeal or All at Once?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 526-40, July.
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