Procedural Choice in Majoritarian Organizations
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management
Columbia University - Department of Political Science
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); University of Maryland
A puzzling feature of self-governing organizations is persistent majority support for restrictive, seemingly non-majoritarian, procedures, e.g., chairs and committees. This paper provides a theory of self-enforcing majoritarian commitment to restrictive procedures. We ask (i) why majorities consent to restrictive procedures in the first place, (ii) why restrictive procedures survive challenges thereafter, and (iii) with what policy consequences. In the model a risk-averse majority allocates procedural rights to increase procedural efficiency, i.e., reduce the procedural uncertainty of free-for-all bargaining. An equilibrium procedure is generally asymmetric and restrictive, generating non-majoritarian policy bias. Still, a majority may persist in endorsing it so as to avoid amplifying procedural and policy uncertainty.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: procedural choice, procedural efficiency, procedural persistence, self-enforcing commitment
JEL Classification: D72, D78, C72
Date posted: April 1, 2009 ; Last revised: October 22, 2013
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