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The Not-So-Popular Branch: Bicameralism as a Counter-Majoritarian Device

Iaryczower, Matias and Katz, Gabriel and Saiegh, Sebastian (2009) The Not-So-Popular Branch: Bicameralism as a Counter-Majoritarian Device. Social Science Working Paper, 1312. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We estimate a model of voting in Congress that allows for dispersed information about the quality of proposals in an equilibrium context. The results highlight the effects of bicameralism on policy outcomes. In equilibrium, the Senate imposes an endogenous supermajority rule on members of the House. We estimate this supermajority rule to be about four-fifths on average across policy areas. Moreover, our results indicate that the value of the information dispersed among legislators is significant, and that in equilibrium a large fraction of House members (40-50%) vote in accordance with their private information. Taken together, our results imply a highly conservative Senate, in the sense that proposals are enacted into law only when it is extremely likely that their quality is high.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Katz, Gabriel0000-0001-5970-2769
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:bicameralism, legislatures, roll call votes, information transmission, MCMC, finite mixture model
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1312
Classification Code:JEL: D72, D78, C13
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170726-165417007
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79469
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:07 Aug 2017 19:29
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:20

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