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Published April 2020 | Submitted
Journal Article Open

Persistence of power: Repeated multilateral bargaining with endogenous agenda setting authority


We extend a simple repeated, multilateral bargaining model to allow successful agenda setters to hold on to power as long as they maintain the support of a majority of other committee members. Theoretically and experimentally, we compare this Endogenous Power environment with a standard Random Power environment in which agenda setters are appointed randomly each period. Although the theoretical analysis predicts that the two environments are outcome equivalent, the experimental analysis shows substantial differences in behavior and outcomes across the games. The Endogenous Power environment results in the formation of more stable coalitions, less-equitable budget allocations, the persistence of power across periods, and higher long-run inequality than the Random Power environment. We present evidence that the stationary equilibrium refinements traditionally used in the literature fail to predict behavior in either game.

Additional Information

© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Received 21 March 2019, Revised 4 December 2019, Accepted 5 December 2019, Available online 19 March 2020. We appreciate feedback from Emanuel Vespa, Ryan Oprea, Guillaume Frechette, Marco Battaglini, Alessandra Casella, Amanda Friedenberg, Alex Hirsch, Navin Kartik, Justin Leroux, Salvatore Nunnari, Pietro Ortoleva, Thomas Palfrey and participants at seminars and workshops at Columbia University, UCSD Rady, Caltech, Cornell Political Economy Conference, Michigan State University, University of British Columbia, Quebec Political Economy Conference, Wilfrid Laurier, the Warwick-Princeton Political Economy workshop in Venice, and the Canadian Public Economic Group meetings. Cotton is grateful for financial support provided through his position as the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic and Financial Policy at Queen's University. Tergiman is grateful for generous funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), which provided funding for the experiment.

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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023