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Published December 1998 | public
Journal Article

Veto games: Spatial committees under unanimity rule


There exists a large literature on two-person bargaining games and distribution games (or divide-the-dollar games) under simple majority rule, where in equilibrium a minimal winning coalition takes full advantage over everyone else. Here we extend the study to an n-person veto game where players take turns proposing policies in an n-dimensional policy space and everybody has a veto over changes in the status quo. Briefly, we find a Nash equilibrium where the initial proposer offers a policy in the intersection of the Pareto optimal set and the Pareto superior set that gives everyone their continuation values, and punishments are never implemented. Comparing the equilibrium outcomes under two different agendas – sequential recognition and random recognition – we find that there are advantages generated by the order of proposal under the sequential recognition rule. We also provide some conditions under which the players will prefer to rotate proposals rather than allow any specific policy to prevail indefinitely.

Additional Information

© 1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Accepted 13 August 1996. The authors wish to thank Elizabeth Gerber, Richard McKelvey and Scott Page for their comments on earlier drafts of the paper. This research was partially funded by a grant from the United States Institute of Peace to the California Institute of Technology.

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