Power Illusion in Coalitional Bargaining: An Experimental Analysis
33 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2016 Last revised: 25 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 29, 2019
One feature of legislative bargaining in naturally occurring settings is that the distribution of seats or voting weights often does not accurately reflect bargaining power. Game-theoretic predictions about payoffs and coalition formation are insensitive to nominal differences in vote distributions and instead only depend on pivotality. We conduct an experimental test of the classical Baron-Ferejohn model with five-player groups. Holding real power constant, we compare treatments with differences in nominal power. We find that initial effects of nominal differences become small or disappear with experience. Our results also point to the complexity of the environment as having a negative impact on the speed at which this transition takes place. Finally, and of particular importance as a methodological observation, giving subjects a pause accelerates learning.
Keywords: legislative bargaining, alternating offers, experiments, weighted voting, coalition formation
JEL Classification: C78, C92, D71, D72, C7, C52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation