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CeDEx 2012-09: Bargaining in Standing Committees

Abstract

Committee voting has mostly been investigated from the perspective of the standard Baron-Ferejohn model of bargaining over the division of a pie, in which bargaining ends as soon as the committee reaches an agreement. In standing committees, however, existing agreements can be amended. This paper studies an extension of the Baron-Ferejohn framework to a model with an evolving default that reflects this important feature of policymaking in standing committees: In each of an infinite number of periods, the ongoing default can be amended to a new policy (which in turn determines the default for the next period). The model provides a number of quite different predictions. In particular: (i) Substantial shares of the pie are wasted each period and the size principle fails in some pure strategy Markov perfect equilibria of non-unanimity games with patient enough players; and (ii) All Markov perfect equilibria are Pareto inefficient when discount factors are heterogenous. However, there is unique equilibrium outcome in unanimity standing committee games, which coincides with the unique equilibrium outcome of the corresponding Baron-Ferejohn framework.

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Now published in Theoretical Economics 2014; 9: 445-482

Authors

Vincent Anesi and Daniel J. Seidmann

 

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Posted on Sunday 1st July 2012

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