Public Choice

, Volume 155, Issue 3–4, pp 373–394 | Cite as

Decision costs in legislative bargaining: an experimental analysis

Article

Abstract

We conduct an experiment to assess the effects of different decision rules on the costs of decision making in a multilateral bargaining situation. Specifically, we compare the amount of costly delay observed in an experimental bargaining game under majority and unanimity rule. Our main finding is that individual subjects are more likely to reject offers under unanimity rule. This higher rejection rate, as well as the requirement that all subjects agree, leads to more costly delay. This result provides empirical support for a classic argument in favor of less-than-unanimity decision rules put forth by Buchanan and Tullock (The calculus of consent: logical foundations of constitutional democracy, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1962).

Keywords

Collective decision-making Majority rule Unanimity Legislative bargaining Experimental economics 

JEL Classification

C78 C92 D71 D72 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, Nuffield CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Economics and King’s CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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