Article

Rhetoric in Legislative Bargaining with Asymmetric Information

Theoretical Economics (Impact Factor: 0.87). 01/2010; DOI: 10.3982/TE821
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT In this paper we analyze a legislative bargaining game in which parties privately informed about their preferences bargain over an ideological and a distributive decision. Communication takes place before a proposal is offered and majority rule voting determines the outcome. When the private information pertains to the ideological intensities but the ideological positions are publicly known, it may not be possible to have informative communication from the legislator who is ideologically distant from the proposer, but the more moderate legislator can communicate whether he would "compromise" or "fight" on ideology. If instead the private information pertains to the ideological positions, then all parties may convey whether they will "cooperate," "compromise," or "fight" on ideology. When the uncertainty is about ideological intensity, the proposer is always better off making proposals for the two dimensions together despite separable preferences, but when the uncertainty is about ideological positions, bundling can result in informational loss which hurts the proposer.

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    ABSTRACT: One of the most robust phenomena in the experimental literature on multilateral bargaining is the failure of proposers to extract equilibrium rents. However, all previous experiments have overlooked the fact that outside the lab committee members are allowed to - and do - engage in sometimes intense communication processes prior to voting on a proposal. We conduct an experimental test of the Baron-Ferejohn model in which we allow committee members to engage in unrestricted cheap-talk communication before a proposal is submitted. We find that proposers extract a significantly higher share of resources when communication is allowed. Communication increases proposer power through two channels. First, it mitigates the uncertainty surrounding the amount a coalition member is willing to accept. Second, it allows potential coalition members to compete for a place in the coalition by lowering this stated price.
    Journal of Public Economics 10/2014; 118. DOI:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2014.06.006 · 1.46 Impact Factor

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