Self-Enforcing Partisan Procedures

82 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2017 Last revised: 2 Feb 2019

See all articles by Daniel Diermeier

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

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

Using a multi-stage model of collective decision-making, we study how partisan polarization in legislatures affects the initial choice and future revision of procedural rules. We analyze how a legislature allocates proposal power over policy decisions under uncertainty about the future polarization in policy preferences among legislators. Our notion of polarization encompasses both intra- and inter-party heterogeneity in policy preferences. We show that majority procedures are partisan and self-enforcing, i.e., survive future revisions even though they concentrate proposal power in the hands of a few (non-median) majority party members. This leads to systematic pro-majority policy bias. Increased polarization, however, may not increase the concentration of proposal power within the majority party. The model provides a unified analytical framework to evaluate a long-standing debate about the foundations of partisan influence in the U.S. Congress.

Keywords: Legislative Procedures, Partisan Polarization, Political Parties, Congress

JEL Classification: D72, D78, C72

Suggested Citation

Diermeier, Daniel and Prato, Carlo and Vlaicu, Razvan, Self-Enforcing Partisan Procedures (January 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3055397 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3055397

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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