A Caltech Library Service

Legislative bargaining and the dynamics of public investment

Battaglini, Marco and Nunnari, Salvatore and Palfrey, Thomas R. (2011) Legislative bargaining and the dynamics of public investment. Social Science Working Paper, 1352. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF (SSWP 1352 - Aug. 2011) - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We present a legislative bargaining model of the provision of a durable public good over an infinite horizion. In each period, there is a societal endowment which can either be invested in the public good or consumed. We characterize the optimal public policy, defined by the time path of investment and consumption. In each period, a legislature with representatives of each of “n” districts bargain over the current period’s endowment for investment in the public good and transfers to each district. We analyze the Markov perfect equilibrium under different voting “q”-rules where “q” is the number of yes votes required for passage. We show that the efficiency of the public policy is increasing in “q” because higher “q” leads to higher investment in the public good and less pork. We examine the theoretical equilibrium predictions by conducting a laboratory experiment with five-person committees that compares three alternative voting rules: unanimity (q=5); majority (q=3); and dictatorship (q=1).

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Palfrey, Thomas R.0000-0003-0769-8109
Additional Information:We thank Abhijit Banerjee, Lydia Mechtenberg, Craig Volden, and Alan Wiseman for detailed comments. We are also grateful for comments from seminar audiences at Bocconi University, University of Chicago, University of Melbourne, ITAM, University of Arizona, University of California Riverside, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon University, the 2009 International CAS/NES Workshop on Rationality, Behaviour and Experiments in Moscow, the 2009 Wallis Conference in Rochester, the Conference on Theory and Field Experiments in Political Economy at Harvard University, the Australasian Public Choice Conference 2009 in Melbourne, the 2010 Winter Meeting of the Econometric Society in Atlanta, the 2010 CIRPEE Workshop on Political Economy in Quebec City, and the 2011 MPSA Conference in Chicago. We thank Dustin Beckett and Juan Ortner for research assistance.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Dynamic political economy, voting, public goods, bargaining, experiments
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1352
Classification Code:JEL: J71, D72, C78, C92, H41, H54
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170727-112335038
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79493
Deposited By: Hanna Storlie
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 21:37
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 09:58

Repository Staff Only: item control page