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Published August 7, 2017 | Submitted
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Scheduling Auctions and Proto-Parties in Legislatures


We consider the impact of the scarcity of plenary time in legislatures both on the outcome of the legislative bargaining process and the organization of the legislature itself. We do so by developing a novel model that we call scheduling auctions. In the model, the legislature is charged with allocating a fixed budget. Members can propose an allocation and the scheduling agent decides which one of the possible proposals will be considered by the entire legislature in plenary session for an up or down vote. We show in this simple setting that deciding which member should be selected as the scheduling agent endogenously induces the creation of nascent political parties that we call proto-parties. We also show that the these legislative structures have positive welfare implications.

Additional Information

We are grateful to David Baron, Douglas Bernheim, Gary Cox, Daniel Diermeier, Harold Demsetz, Timothy Feddersen, Matias Iaryczower, Matthew Jackson, Matt Kahn, Preston McAfee, Kenneth Shepsle, Guido Tabellini, Barry Weingast, and William Zame, as well as seminar audiences at WZB, UCSD, Universidad de Granada, and CERGE.

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