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Bargaining in Legislatures: An Empirical Investigation

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  • Brian Knight

Abstract

While the theoretical literature on non-cooperative legislative bargaining has grown voluminous, there is little empirical work attempting to test a key prediction in this literature: proposal power is valuable. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature by investigating the role of proposal power in the allocation of transportation projects across U.S. Congressional districts in 1991 and 1998. The evidence supports the key qualitative prediction of the Baron and Ferejohn legislative bargaining model: members with proposal power, those sitting on the transportation authorization committee, secure more project spending for their districts than do other representatives. Support for the quantitative restrictions on the value of proposal power, which are more powerful than the qualitative restrictions, is more mixed. I then empirically address several alternative models of legislative behavior, including partisian models, informational roles for committees, models with appropriations committees, and theories of committees as preference outliers.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Knight, 2004. "Bargaining in Legislatures: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 10530, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10530
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Helpman Elhanan & Persson Torsten, 2001. "Lobbying and Legislative Bargaining," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-33, November.
    3. Merlo, Antonio, 1997. "Bargaining over Governments in a Stochastic Environment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 101-131, February.
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    6. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
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    9. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475.
    10. Lockwood, B., 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Benefits of Decentralization," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 513, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    11. Merlo, Antonio & Wilson, Charles A, 1995. "A Stochastic Model of Sequential Bargaining with Complete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 371-399, March.
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    14. Levitt, Steven D & Poterba, James M, 1999. "Congressional Distributive Politics and State Economic Performance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 185-216, April.
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    16. Fr Chette, Guillaume R. & Kagel, John H. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2003. "Bargaining in Legislatures: An Experimental Investigation of Open versus Closed Amendment Rules," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(02), pages 221-232, May.
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    18. Richard D. Mckelvey & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "Seniority in Legislature," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 12, pages 185-199 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    19. Dharmapala, Dhammika, 1999. "Comparing tax expenditures and direct subsidies: the role of legislative committee structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 421-454, June.
    20. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2002. "Lobbying Legislatures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 919-948, August.
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    22. Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
    23. Knight, Brian, 2004. "Parochial interests and the centralized provision of local public goods: evidence from congressional voting on transportation projects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 845-866, March.
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    25. Brian Knight, 2002. "Endogenous Federal Grants and Crowd-out of State Government Spending: Theory and Evidence from the Federal Highway Aid Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 71-92, March.
    26. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-664, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodet, Cortney S., 2011. "Voter Behavior and Seniority Advantage in Pork Barrel Politics," MPRA Paper 33192, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Dhammika Dharmapala, 2002. "Legislative Bargaining and Incremental Budgeting," Working papers 2002-10, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General

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