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Procedural Choice in Majoritarian Organizations

Daniel Diermeier

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Carlo Prato

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Razvan Vlaicu

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); University of Maryland

October 2013

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

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Date posted: April 1, 2009 ; Last revised: October 22, 2013

Suggested Citation

Diermeier, Daniel and Prato, Carlo and Vlaicu, Razvan, Procedural Choice in Majoritarian Organizations (October 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1371288 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1371288

Contact Information

Daniel Diermeier
Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )
2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
Carlo Prato
Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )
7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
Razvan Vlaicu (Contact Author)
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) ( email )
1300 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

University of Maryland ( email )
3114 Tydings Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States
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References:  61
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