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Published August 1, 2017 | Submitted
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Auctioning off the Agenda: Bargaining in Legislatures with Endogenous Scheduling


There are many examples of allocation problems where the final allocation affects more than one agent, but the models developed to study them typically allow for side payments between agents. However, there are political economy applications where it is hard to imagine monetary transfers between the agents, at least not legal ones. In this paper we propose a general political economic framework for the study of allocation problems with externalities without side payments. We consider a setup with complete information and we formulate the problem as one where the status quo describes an initial allocation that can altered in a sequence of proposals. The number of these proposals is restricted. In the context of our main application, bidding for slots on a legislative agenda, such restriction can be interpreted as scarcity of plenary time for considering the possible bills to move the policy. The intuition for our model comes out of framing the problem as a special type of a multi-good auction. We show that equilibria generically exist within the general model.

Additional Information

We thank Douglas Bernheim, Gary Cox, Matias Iaryczower, Matthew Jackson, Preston McAfee, Barry Weingast, and William Zame as well as seminar participants at the Hoover Insitution, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Diego for helpful comments. Čopič acknowledges the financial support of the Social and Information Sciences Laboratory at Caltech and the Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics at Yale University and Katz acknowledges the financial support of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

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