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When the Powerful Drag Their Feet

We examine the timing of group decisions that are taken by weighted voting. Decision-making is in two stages. In the second stage, players vote on a policy restriction. In the first stage, players vote to determine the timing of the second-stage decision: “early”, before players’ types are revealed, or “late”. Players differ in both size and voting power. We show that players with greater power tend to prefer a late vote, whereas less powerful players tend to want to vote early. By contrast, large players tend to prefer an early vote and small players a late vote. We present evidence from the literatures on corporate governance, international relations, European Union governance, and oil extraction. We examine an extension in which players choose the qualified majority threshold besides the timing of the second-stage vote.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Victoria in its series Department Discussion Papers with number 0703.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 04 Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vic:vicddp:0703
Note: ISSN 1914-2838
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Web page: http://web.uvic.ca/econ

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  1. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Kornhauser, Lewis A., 2002. "Game-theoretic analysis of legal rules and institutions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 60, pages 2229-2269 Elsevier.
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  12. Giovanni Maggi & Massimo Morelli, 2006. "Self-Enforcing Voting in International Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1137-1158, September.
  13. Nitzan, Shmuel & Paroush, Jacob, 1982. "Optimal Decision Rules in Uncertain Dichotomous Choice Situations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(2), pages 289-97, June.
  14. Klapper, Leora F & Laeven, Luc & Love, Inessa, 2005. "What drives corporate governance? Firm-level evidence from Eastern Europe," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3600, The World Bank.
  15. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  16. Bård Harstad, 2007. "Harmonization and Side Payments in Political Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 871-889, June.
  17. B�rd Harstad, 2005. "Majority Rules and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1535-1568, November.
  18. Paul Schure & Amy Verdun, 2008. "Legislative Bargaining in the European Union," European Union Politics, , vol. 9(4), pages 459-486, December.
  19. Dal Bo, Ernesto, 2006. "Committees with supermajority voting yield commitment with flexibility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 573-599, May.
  20. Felsenthal, Dan S. & Machover, Moshe, 1999. "Minimizing the mean majority deficit: The second square-root rule," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 25-37, January.
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