Politics With(Out) Coase
Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE) - Faculty of Business and Economics; University of St. Thomas School of Law
University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna
October 13, 2011
International Review of Economics, Forthcoming
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-44
Political markets may be curative of political externalities, yet they are often unviable due to the presence of bargaining externalities. In this paper we study the extent to which the choice of voting dimensions may affect the viability of Coasian bargaining in a political context. The results suggest that bargaining in a multi-dimensional policy space, although desirable in an ideal world of zero-transaction costs, is almost unavoidably affected by bargaining externalities. Disaggregating the policy choices and voting in a one-dimensional policy space can reduce bargaining externalities and lead to median-voter outcomes. Bargaining by a limited number of players in a median-voter situation can achieve a social first-best. We show the equivalence between the outcomes of multiple independent voting in one-dimensional space and the hypothetical outcome of Coasian bargaining in a multi-dimensional policy space.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Keywords: political Coase theorem, political externalities, bargaining externalities, cyclicality
JEL Classification: C70, D23, D60, D80Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 18, 2011 ; Last revised: March 10, 2012
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