Racing the Clock: Deadlines, Conflict, and Negotiation in Lawmaking

33 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2016

See all articles by Daniel A. Farber

Daniel A. Farber

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: February 7, 2016


Deadlines are a ubiquitous feature of lawmaking in contexts such diverse settings as agency rulemakings, federal appropriations, and international negotiations. Despite the expectation that these deadlines will drive conflicting parties toward agreement or overcome bureaucratic inertia, their impact on decision making is mixed, often producing only modest improvements in speed, and perhaps sometimes none at all. On the downside, deadlines can sometimes reduce the quality of decisions or encourage brinksmanship when missing a deadline would have draconian consequences. If there is a case for deadlines, then, it is an uneasy one. Game theory suggests some possibilities for to increase the effectiveness of deadlines as action-forcing strategies, such as improving information sharing between actors and providing enforcement mechanisms for negotiated outcomes.

Keywords: Legislation, Deadlines, Rulemaking, Budget Crisis

Suggested Citation

Farber, Daniel A., Racing the Clock: Deadlines, Conflict, and Negotiation in Lawmaking (February 7, 2016). UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2728895. Available at SSRN: or

Daniel A. Farber (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

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Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
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