Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 399–414 | Cite as

Representing a democratic constituency in negotiations: delegation versus ratification

  • Daniel CardonaEmail author
  • Clara Ponsatí


We consider negotiations where one of the parties is a group that must send a representative to the bargaining table. We examine the trade-offs that the group faces in choosing between two different regimes for this representation: (i) Delegation where the representative is granted full authority to reach an agreement, and (ii) Ratification, where any agreement reached by the representative requires a posterior ratification vote. We show that when the group has flexibility—to select the delegate or to set the majority threshold for ratification—the majority of the group favors delegation. Only when the flexibility is limited or delegates are (sufficiently) unreliable will the majority of the group prefer ratification.

JEL Classification

C7 F5 



We acknowledge financial support from the Generalitat de Catalunya through grant SGR2009-1051, and from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad through grants ECO2009-08820 and ECO2012-34046


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departament d’Economia AplicadaUniversitat de les Illes Balears and CREBPalma de MallorcaSpain
  2. 2.University of St. AndrewsSt AndrewsScotland
  3. 3.Institut d’Anàlisi Econòmica - CSIC and Barcelona GSEBarcelonaSpain

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