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Repeated Agenda Setting and the Unanimous Approval of Bad Policies

  • Dahm, Matthias
  • Glazer, Amihai

This paper addresses the puzzle of why legislation, even highly inefficient legislation, may pass with overwhelming majorities. We model a egislature in which the same agenda setter serves for two periods, showing how he can exploit a legislature (completely) in the first period by romising future benefits to legislators who support him. In equilibrium, large majority of legislators vote for the first-period proposal because a ote in favor maintains the chance for membership in the minimum winning coalition in the future. The model thus generates situations in which egislators approve policies by large majorities, or even unanimously, that enefit few, or even none, of them. The results are robust: some institutional arrangements, such as super-majority rules or sequential voting, imit but do not eliminate the agenda setter's power to exploit the legislature, and other institutions such as secret voting do not limit his power.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2072/151549
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Paper provided by Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2072/151549.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:urv:wpaper:2072/151549
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  1. Binmore, K. & Osborne, M.J. & Rubinstein, A., 1989. "Noncooperative Models Of Bargaining," Papers 89-26, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  2. Tsung‐Sheng Tsai & C. C. Yang, 2010. "On Majoritarian Bargaining With Incomplete Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 959-979, November.
  3. David M. Primo, 2002. "Rethinking Political Bargaining: Policymaking with a Single Proposer," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 411-427, October.
  4. Ernesto Dal Bo, 2000. "Bribing Voters," Economics Series Working Papers 39, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Dennis Epple & Michael Riordan, 1987. "Cooperation and punishment under repeated majority voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 41-73, September.
  6. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1990. " The Power of the Proposal Maker in a Model of Endogenous Agenda Formation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 64(1), pages 1-20, January.
  7. Rozevitch, Shimon & Weiss, Avi, 1993. " Beneficiaries from Federal Transfers to Municipalities: The Case of Israel," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 335-46, August.
  8. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel & Luis Rayo, 2006. "The Power of the Last Word in Legislative Policy Making," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1161-1190, 09.
  9. Valentino Larcinese & Leonzio Rizzo & Cecilia Testa, 2005. "Allocating the US federal budget to the states: the impact of the President," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3611, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. S. Nageeb Ali & B. Douglas Bernheim & Xiaochen Fan, 2014. "Predictability and Power in Legislative Bargaining," NBER Working Papers 20011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Glazer, Amihai & McMillan, Henry, 1992. " Amend the Old or Address the New: Broad-Based Legislation When Proposing Policies Is Costly," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 43-58, July.
  12. Daniel Diermeier & Pohan Fong, 2011. "Legislative Bargaining with Reconsideration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 947-985.
  13. Kalandrakis, Anastassios, 2004. "A three-player dynamic majoritarian bargaining game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 294-322, June.
  14. Christopher Cotton, 2010. "Dynamic Legislative Bargaining with Endogenous Agenda Setting Authority," Working Papers 2010-20, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
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