Procedural Choice in Majoritarian Organizations
50 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009 Last revised: 22 Oct 2013
Date Written: 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.
Keywords: procedural choice, procedural efficiency, procedural persistence, self-enforcing commitment
JEL Classification: D72, D78, C72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation