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Democratic Policy Making with Real-Time Agenda Setting: Part 1

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  • B. Douglas Bernheim
  • Antonio Rangel
  • Luis Rayo

Abstract

We examine democratic policy-making in a simple institution with real-time agenda setting. Individuals are recognized sequentially. Once recognized, an individual makes a proposal, which is immediately put to a vote. If a proposal passes, it supercedes all previously passed proposals. The policy that emerges from this process is implemented. For some familiar classes of policy spaces with rich distributional politics, we show that the last proposer is effectively a dictator under a variety of natural conditions. Most notably, this occurs whenever a sufficient number of individuals have opportunities to make proposals. Thus, under reasonably general assumptions, control of the final proposal with real-time agenda setting confers as much power as control of the entire agenda.

Suggested Citation

  • B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel & Luis Rayo, 2002. "Democratic Policy Making with Real-Time Agenda Setting: Part 1," NBER Working Papers 8973, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8973
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8973.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 2000. "Government Turnover in Parliamentary Democracies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 46-79, September.
    2. Baron, David P. & Ferejohn, John A., 1989. "Bargaining in Legislatures," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 1181-1206, December.
    3. Bhaskar Dutta & Matthew O. Jackson & Michel Le Breton, 2004. "Equilibrium agenda formation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 23(1), pages 21-57, August.
    4. Lockwood, B., 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Benefits of Decentralization," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 513, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    7. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Gasmi, Farid., 1986. "Endogenous Agenda Formation in Three-Person Committees," Working Papers 603, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    8. Stéphane Rottier & Francis Bloch, 2002. "Agenda control in coalition formation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(4), pages 769-788.
    9. Banks, Jeffrey s. & Duggan, John, 2000. "A Bargaining Model of Collective Choice," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 73-88, March.
    10. Eraslan, Hulya, 2002. "Uniqueness of Stationary Equilibrium Payoffs in the Baron-Ferejohn Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 11-30, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Conde-Ruiz, J. Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2004. "The macroeconomics of early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1849-1869, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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