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The Dynamics of Distributive Politics

Battaglini, Marco and Palfrey, Thomas R. (2007) The Dynamics of Distributive Politics. Social Science Working Paper, 1273. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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We study dynamic committee bargaining over an infinite horizon with discounting. In each period a committee proposal is generated by a random recognition rule, the committee chooses between the proposal and a status quo by majority rule, and the voting outcome in period t becomes the status quo in period t+1. We study symmetric Markov equilibria of the resulting game and conduct an experiment to test hypotheses generated by the theory for pure distributional (divide-the-dollar) environments. In particular, we investigate the effects of concavity in the utility functions, the existence of a Condorcet winning alternative, and the discount factor (committee "impatience"). We report several new findings. Voting behavior is selfish and myopic. Status quo outcomes have great inertia. There are strong treatment effects, that are in the direction predicted by the Markov equilibrium. We find significant evidence of concave utility functions.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription ItemPublished Version
Palfrey, Thomas R.0000-0003-0769-8109
Additional Information:Original version dated to June 2006. We are grateful to the Center for Economic Policy Studies at Princeton University, the Princeton Laboratory for Experimental Social Science, and the National Science Foundation (SES-0450712, SES-0418150, and SES-0617820) for financial support. Marco Battaglini gratefully acknowledges financial support from a NSF CAREER Award (SES-0547748), and the hospitality of the Kellogg School’s MEDS department for the academic year 2006-2007. We thank Anna Bassi, Kyle Mattes, and Stephanie Wang for research assistance. Published as Battaglini, M., & Palfrey, T.R. (2012). The dynamics of distributive politics. Economic Theory, 739-777.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Princeton Center for Economic Policy StudiesUNSPECIFIED
Princeton Laboratory for Experimental Social Science (PLESS)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Dynamic bargaining, voting, experiments, divide-the-dollar, committees
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1273
Classification Code:JEL: D71, D72, C78, C92
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170728-155330544
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79566
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 18:02
Last Modified:22 Nov 2019 09:58

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