IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Strategic Delegation and Voting Rules

  • Bard Hastad

When making collective decisions, principals (voters or districts) typically benefit by strategically delegating their bargaining and voting power to representatives different from themselves. There are conflicting views in the literature, however, of whether such a delegate should be "conservative" (status quo biased) or instead "progressive" relative to his principal. I show how the answer depends on the political system in general, and the majority requirement in particular. A larger majority requirement leads to conservative delegation, but "sincere" delegation is always achieved by the optimal voting rule.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: main text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1442.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1442
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014

Phone: 847/491-3527
Fax: 847/491-2530
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Salvador Barberà & Matthew O. Jackson, 2003. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union," Working Papers 220, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Robert Dur & Hein Roelfsema, 2005. "Why does centralisation fail to internalise policy externalities?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 395-416, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Bennedsen, Morten & Feldmann, Sven E., 2000. "Lobbying Legislatures," Working Papers 07-2000, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Scholarly Articles 4554123, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Haller, Hans & Holden, Steinar, 1997. "Ratification Requirement and Bargaining Power," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(4), pages 825-51, November.
  7. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  8. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, and Parliaments in Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967.
  9. Chari, V V & Jones, Larry E & Marimon, Ramon, 1997. "The Economics of Split-Ticket Voting in Representative Democracies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 957-76, December.
  10. Bard Harstad, 2007. "Do side payments help? Collective decisions and strategic delegation," Discussion Papers 1452, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Jensen, Henrik, 1997. "Credibility of Optimal Monetary Delegation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 911-20, December.
  12. Giovanni Maggi & Massimo Morelli, 2003. "Self Enforcing Voting in International Organizations," NBER Working Papers 10102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gradstein, Mark, 2004. "Political Bargaining in a Federation: Buchanan meets Coase," CEPR Discussion Papers 4188, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Chaim Fershtman & Kenneth L. Judd & Ehud Kalai, 1990. "Observable Contracts: Strategic Delegation and Cooperation," Discussion Papers 879, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Gradstein, Mark, 2004. "Political bargaining in a federation: Buchanan meets Coase," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 983-999, October.
  16. Segendorff, Bjorn, 1998. "Delegation and Threat in Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 266-283, May.
  17. Michael L. Katz, 1991. "Game-Playing Agents: Unobservable Contracts as Precommitments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 307-328, Autumn.
  18. Bård Harstad, 2005. "Majority Rules and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1535-1568.
  19. Oliver Lorz & Gerald Willmann, 2008. "Enlargement versus Deepening: The Trade-off Facing Economic Unions," Working Papers VIVES Research Centre for Regional Economics 2, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, VIVES Research Centre for Regional Economics.
  20. Matthias Messner & Mattias K. Polborn, 2004. "Voting on Majority Rules," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 115-132.
  21. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems and Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657.
  22. Jones, Stephen R. G., 1989. "Have your lawyer call my lawyer : Bilateral delegation in bargaining situations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 159-174, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1442. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Fran Walker)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.