Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 1 > Issue 1

A General Bargaining Model of Legislative Policy-making

Jeffrey S. Banks, Division of Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, John Duggan, Department of Political Science and Department of Economics, University of Rochester,
Suggested Citation
Jeffrey S. Banks and John Duggan (2006), "A General Bargaining Model of Legislative Policy-making", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 1: No. 1, pp 49-85. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00000001

Published: 01 Jan 2006
© 2006 now Publishers
Formal modelling,  Lawmaking,  Game theory
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In this article:
The Legislative Bargaining Model
Special Cases of the Model
General Results on Legislative Bargaining
Appendix: Technical Matters


We present a general model of legislative bargaining in which the status quo is an arbitrary point in a multidimensional policy space. In contrast to other bargaining models, the status quo is not assumed to be bad for all legislators, and delay may be Pareto efficient. We prove existence of stationary equilibria. We show that if all legislators are risk averse or if even limited transfers are possible, then delay is only possible if the status quo lies in the core. Thus, we expect immediate agreement in multidimensional models, where the core is typically empty. In one dimension, delay is possible if and only if the status quo lies in the core of the voting rule, and then it is the only possible outcome. Our comparative statics analysis yield two noteworthy insights: moderate status quos imply moderate policy outcomes, and legislative patience implies policy moderation.